A key selling point for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) in the team’s quest for a new ballpark: fans don’t know what they’re missing when it comes to upgrades.
There is a certain sentiment among Richmond baseball fans that The Diamond is a perfectly adequate venue for pro baseball, so what’s the rush in building a new one? The success of the Flying Squirrels, ironically, works against the team in its efforts to acquire a new ballpark either in downtown’s Shockoe Bottom or near the present ballpark site. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
If a ballpark is built, the team said it can do things that aren’t possible or are limited at The Diamond. The stadium, which opened in 1985, has a large upper deck, concession areas that require fans to leave the viewing area, and limited video capability on the scoreboard.
Bruce Baldwin was the Richmond Braves’ general manager from 1987 to 2008. Since moving from Richmond, he helped design and open stadiums in Gwinnett County, Ga., now the Triple-A home of the Atlanta Braves, and Pensacola, Fla., the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
“The best way to do a facility is to spread it out, and give people walking space. That is the biggest thing that The Diamond doesn’t have,” said Baldwin, now president of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
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