Friday, April 16, 2010

Richmond Goes Nuts for Opening Day at the Diamond

Photo credit: Laura Peters

Listen to the full story here

Last night marked the season opening of Richmond’s new baseball team, the Flying Squirrels. With the first ball brought in by skydivers and fireworks during the National Anthem, everyone was ready for a great ball game. Tickets were between $6 and $10, and the sold out game drew lots of Richmond Braves’ fans.

Will Meeks pointed out changes to the stadium that included the removal of seating and TVs near concessions lines. Though he has his gripes, he says he is pleasantly surprised with how things have been turning out.

“So it is kind of different, but still, it’s giving room for new experiences to be held. I thought I wasn’t going to be liking the scene but I really love it,” Meeks said.

Rachel Cressin, a Richmond native, has been going to baseball games ever since she was a kid. She says she is looking forward to the new season.

“I’ve always been a big baseball fan, you know, support the local team — and let’s face it — it’s cute boys in tight pants,” Cressin said.

Mike Lusk has been watching the transition of the stadium through the winter and says that it’s become a gem.

“Baseball is back for the children of the area, and it’s a very important part of the community. A part of the community we didn’t realized was as important as it was until it was gone for 18 months,” Lusk said.

The Squirrels clobbered the Reading Phillies 3-0. Following their win, the audience sat in awe over the fireworks show at the end of the 9th inning. But don’t fret -- the Squirrels will bring fireworks on 13 different occasions this season.

The night wasn’t without disadvantages. You might want to load up on food and drinks before the game due to the long lines and angry customers — unless you enjoy waiting 30 minutes for a large beer and some Cracker Jacks.

At the end of the game, the crowd filtered out. Everyone looked a little buzzed trying to figure out how to get out of the stadium. Although the Squirrels had been on the road for the past week, they were welcomed home in their newly-renovated stadium and brought a win home for their fans.

After catching up with Cressin at the end of the game, she spoke of her excitement to have seen opening night. One of her favorite parts was the fireworks.

“I mean, like I said before, you gotta support local baseball, it’s good to have them back, and they’re actually really good, so I’ll definitely be back,” Cressin said. “I definitely think it’s a good community, I think it’s gonna bring more people out and maybe help revenue, and it’s just nice to have baseball back in Richmond.

Lusk sang a jingle he wrote for the Flying Squirrels.

“Catch Squirrels mania, with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Catch all the action, catch every play, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, excitement all the way. Go, Squirrels, go, you can make it on home. Catch all the action, with the Richmond Flying Squirrels.”

-Caroline Jackson, Kelsey Radcliffe and Laura Peters

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