San Francisco Giants senior vice president and general manager Bobby Evans is expressing concern about the condition of The Diamond, home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League).
The Flying Squirrels, the Class AA affiliate of the Giants, have been searching for a new ballpark for several years. Recently, the team has been tied to discussions about constructing a new ballpark on a site across Hermitage Road from The Diamond that would also house Virginia Commonwealth University baseball. However, no firm plans have emerged to this point.
While discussions about a new ballpark will have to continue, Evans is stating his concern over the current condition of The Diamond. Evans is praising the work that the Flying Squirrels front office has done to draw fans to The Diamond, but believes that the Flying Squirrels are working with an out-of-date facility. More from The Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Evans, in town Monday to watch the Richmond Flying Squirrels, said the Giants “are very concerned about the facility” that houses their Double-A affiliate.
“It doesn’t look as good as it did a few years ago,” he said. “It’s showing wear and tear, and the game is changing, the business of baseball is changing and the needs change. Revenue opportunities change.
“The front office does an incredible job here, but they’re working in many ways with a facility that just is way behind what other cities offer now. The support they get here from fans, you’d love to see the fans rewarded with a ballpark.”….
Lou DiBella, the Squirrels’ president and managing general partner, said in April that there was nothing new regarding the ballpark, but he was optimistic about the future and “I know that the love affair between the Squirrels and Richmond will continue far into my lifetime.”
The Giants are committed to the Flying Squirrels as their Class AA affiliate for the next few years, as the player development contract between the two clubs runs through the 2020 season. The relationship between the two franchises actually extends back to the 2003 season, when the Flying Squirrels were still known as the Norwich Navigators.
The Diamond originally opened in 1985 for the Richmond Braves (Class AAA; International League), and was home to that franchise until it relocated to Gwinnett County, GA prior to the 2009 season. The Flying Squirrels have played at the ballpark since 2010, their first season after moving from Norwich, CT.
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