Chronological Tour: Stop 20

It Was State-of-the-Art

The futuristic-looking Diamond, as seen from across the Boulevard, Aug-2011.

The Flying Squirrels fill the park nicely for a Thursday-night game.

The field, used since 1954 for baseball, also hosts college games. A soccer field is out beyond right field.

Quick Facts: Rating: 3 baseballs
The original facility here, which I never saw, was built in 1934 as a racetrack and renovated in 1953 to accommodate the International League. The old stadium was torn down in September 1984, and a completely new ballpark was in place for opening day in April 1985.

When I first visited The Diamond, in August 1991, I thought it was one of the greatest things going. The people of Richmond were justifiably proud.

Unfortunately, time seems to have passed this place by. While the seating layout is similar to the quite comfortable Lackawanna Stadium and it does have real grass, much of the seating here is on shaped aluminum benches. That included the lower deck until the mid-2000s, when those seats were replaced by more traditional stadium seats. Part of the upper deck still has the benches original to 1985, although several rows near the top have been removed in order to reduce the seating capacity. The metal benches are sold as general admission.

There was talk of replacing more seats and making other modifications to the park, which might restore its glory, but the R-Braves were pushing for a new downtown park. When that did not materialize, the club announced plans to move to Gwinnett Co., Ga. (northeast of Atlanta), in 2009. An Eastern League team subsequently moved here from Norwich, Conn., for the 2010 season.

Rumors have continued to swirl about building a new park to replace The Diamond, and as of late 2016 it appears these plans might finally come to fruition. After a proposal to put a park in the historic Shockoe Bottom section of town was rejected, the city and Virginia Commonwealth University, which uses The Diamond and other nearby athletic facilities, announced an agreement that would keep the Flying Squirrels in town for 30 years once a new park was built. The new park, which is still in the planning stages, would be located within several blocks of The Diamond.

Game # Date League Level Result
43 Sat 17-Aug-1991 International AAA Tidewater 9, RICHMOND 3
1137 Thu 4-Aug-2011 Eastern AA New Hampshire 4, RICHMOND 2
1491 Sun 21-Aug-2016 Eastern AA RICHMOND 6, Harrisburg 5
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This page updated 6-Dec-2016