With the implementation of a fan experience that emphasized entertainment, the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) put together a successful Eastern League All-Star Week.
Richmond’s The Diamond was the site of this year’s Eastern League All-Star Game, which was played on July 10. The game itself was a success–drawing a reported crowd of 9,560, the most in the Eastern League All-Star Game’s recorded history–and the week surrounding the event proved to be memorable.
The Flying Squirrels front office, led by vice president and chief operating officer Todd “Parney” Parnell, put together a fan experience that included a unique home run derby and ancillary events around the region leading up to the game. It proved to be much to the pleasure of attendees, who were reportedly thrilled with the offerings. More from the Richmond Free Press:
On July 9, Parney transformed into the “world’s tallest centerfielder” during the event’s Celebrity Home Run Derby at The Diamond. Wearing an oversized fielder’s glove, Parney towered above the crowd in a 25-foot scissors lift in short centerfield. From his eye in the sky, he exchanged friendly barbs with hitters, waving his glove, daring them to hit his way and “buzz the tower.”
The crowd ate it up.
“We wanted to do something crazy out there,” Parney said, deflecting credit to his diligent staff. “We had a bunch of ideas and that’s where we landed.”
Fans couldn’t help but smile at the tower and the many other attractions during four full days brimming with family fun. Call it “Parney’s Party.” There were events all around the city — from music and games on Brown’s Island, to country music at Richmond Raceway, to celebrations at the James Center in Downtown and all up and down Arthur Ashe Boulevard where The Diamond left the welcome lights on for fans who came from many states. There was even a gala pep rally normally seen at a college football game.
An entertaining fan experience has been one of the Flying Squirrels’ strengths since the team arrived in Richmond in 2010, and it seems that the front office was able to translate that into a strong All-Star Game. Last week’s event marked the first time that the Eastern League has staged its All-Star Game at The Diamond. Prior to that, The Diamond’s only turn at hosting an All-Star Game came in 1992, when it was the site of the Triple-A All-Star Game.