The Diamond in Richmond, VA, is the home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the San Francisco Giants' Eastern League farm team. The Parker Field same-site replacement opened in 1985 for the Triple-A Richmond Braves.
It has suffered some hard moments: Hurricane Isabel damaged its roof in 2003, and a year later part of a concrete beam fell onto the stands. In 2008, because of its condition, the Atlanta Braves pulled their Triple-A team into an Atlanta suburb. In their final game as such, that September 1st, the R-Braves drew the house baseball record 12,167 fans.
Having lost Triple-A, Richmond recruited the Double-A Connecticut Defenders to fill the empty playpen. Becoming the Flying Squirrels in time for 2009 season, they tarped off several rows of the upper deck and replaced all of the seating in the lower deck. The Diamond seats 12,134, but because of the tarped-off areas both the Squirrels and their co-tenant Virginia Commonwealth University Rams list their home's capacity as 9,560 and at least the Squirrels list all sellouts as that figure.
Squirrels ownership says a new stadium was promised by 2014. Local officials don’t dispute that, but say the Great Recession derailed it. In May 2021, citing stadium standards MLB imposed in its Minor League Reorganization, Squirrels President Lou DiBella said the Squirrels must be in a new stadium by 2025 or move.
While a solution is emerging, exactly what that solution is has become less clear. Co-tenant VCU bought nearby land to build an athletic village, and early reports said the village would include the new stadium. Later, the school said the ballpark will be near but not on campus property. Then the city - not the school - laid out a 67-acre area around The Diamond and asked developers to submit redevelopment projects that would include a new stadium. That solicitation drew 15 proposals by its February 15, 2022, deadline. The city has now pared that to three.
Ironically, while a new ballpark would guarantee the continuation of minor-league ball in Richmond, it might force the Squirrels to move anyway; Richmond was a proven Triple-A market when it had a suitable playpen, so a new one might put the city in play for a return to the minors' top level.
|Current ballparks in the Eastern League|
|Northeast Division||Southwest Division|
|Dunkin' Donuts Park | FirstEnergy Stadium | Hadlock Field | Mirabito Stadium | Northeast Delta Dental Stadium | TD Bank Ballpark||Canal Park | The Diamond | FNB Field | Peoples Natural Gas Field | Prince George's Stadium | UPMC Park|