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Flying Squirrels: Fans don’t know what they are missing

Richmond Flying SquirrelsA 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.

RELATED STORIES: Richmond committee: Don’t put ballpark location to vote; Richmond ballpark location may be decided by voters; New Richmond ballpark: on or off?; Shockoe Bottom gaining momentum as Flying Squirrels ballpark site?; Progress made on new Richmond ballpark: McEacharn; MiLB squirrelly about new Richmond ballpark; Flying Squirrels: New ballpark still a priority; Flying Squirrels extend Diamond lease, setting stage for ballpark improvements; Experts: Downtown ballpark could revitalize Richmond; Squirrels: No plans to leave Richmond “at the present time”; Didn’t take long: Opposition rises to Richmond Shockoe Bottom ballpark siteRichmond ballpark discussion shifts back to Shockoe Bottom; Manchester in play as well; Richmond: Yes, we really do intend on building a new ballparkBudget issues postpone Squirrels ballpark to 2015 at the earliestNew Richmond ballpark by 2014?DiBella: Time to start talking new ballparkFlying Squirrels throw out first offer on new ballparkBaseball returns to Richmond’s Diamond — but for how long?


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