RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Baseball in the Bottom is off the table and tonight, fans are reacting.
Tuesday's decision by Highwoods Properties to abandon plans to build a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom has left the future of America's past-time in Richmond in flux.
The private development company was really the muscle behind the plan to develop baseball in the Bottom. Now that they are out of the mix, the city of Richmond is now forced to start the process from the beginning. It is a prospect that is frustrating for city sports fans.
For baseball fans in Richmond, today has become a new day one. A day where grand plans for a sparkling new ballpark have vanished. Some feel the Diamond may be the only option left.
"Based on today's news it looks like that is the only place we are going to get a ballpark, if we are going to get one at all." said an unidentified called to Greg Burton's Hardly Workin' Radio program on ESPN Radio 950.
Highwoods Properties shelved its plans because of changing dynamics in Shockoe Bottom that include the possibility of high speed rail and a GRTC transfer center.
Greg Burton was one of the biggest and most public proponents of Shockoe Center project said the Mayor Dwight Jones' office missed an opportunity.
"Somehow the city treated them (Highwoods Properties) in a way that they decided to walk away, and I think that is really unfortunate."
Mayor Jones has refused to give a direct opinion on the best place for baseball in Richmond. Today, he did not speak to reporters. Instead he released a statement which said in part that- "an Eastern League team will be on the ground in the diamond next spring."
A statement some fans have a hard time believing.
"If I am the president of this double a eastern league, I am on the phone with the mayor saying, we aren't bringing a team there unless there is a concrete plan."
A plan, that at this point is back at step one.
While fans that had hopes of bringing baseball to the Bottom are disappointed, their counterparts advocating baseball on Northern Boulevard are overjoyed. They now believe the only option the city has, is to come up with a plan that keeps the game in its traditional home at the Diamond.