Baseball is back in the River City

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Baseball is back in the River City. The team formerly known as the Connecticut Defenders is headed south to play at The Diamond.

The new team is already investing $1.5 million into the stadium to make it their home. They signed a two year deal to play here with three one year options to extend the contract.

It's only a matter a time before there's no trace of the Braves left here in Richmond. The new owners are not only moving in, they're cleaning house.

"This is an impressive stadium as you come down 95," said Chuck Domino, the Chief Executive Manager of Richmond Baseball. "Kind of looks like a space ship and we're going to do our best go give Richmond what they want in this particular ballpark."

And that means changes are coming to the way baseball does business here.

"Its a different business model. These people aren't just coming to play 71 games of baseball, but they're going to engage the community," said Richmond mayor Dwight Jones.

The team is creating a souvenir shop in the old restaurant, and will cover the concrete walls to make it more inviting.

It's building an indoor, climate controlled batting tunnel here for the players.

An old office will become a weight room. The locker rooms will be replaced. The fans are getting a brand new scoreboard.

And no more hard metal seats. All 3,200 seats in the lower level and in the suites will be replaced. And they will have cup holders.

"Every time we ask somebody about The Diamond and their experience at The Diamond they said 'boy we wish we had cup holders.' So Richmond, we have cup holders," Domino said.

The changes are meant to provide some relief until there's a more permanent solution.

"By having a team in here for at least two up to five years, that give us a little bit of breathing room so that we can step back we can begin to do some planning see what the economy's doing. And hopefully come up with a long term solution," said Mike Berry, general manager of the Richmond Metro Authority.

All this team needs now is a name and you have an opportunity to create it.   Click on the link at right to enter the contest. The prize if your name suggestion is selected is lifetime season tickets.

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