Thursday, October 01, 2009
The Richmond Giants
The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.
No, not Richmond, Calif. but Richmond, Va., which starting in 2010 will be the home of the San Francisco Giants' Double-A team. This is of specific interest to me as my mother grew up in Richmond, Va. at a time when the Richmond Virginians or Virginia Vee’s were the Triple-A team of the New York Yankees. The Vee’s left in 1964, however, so the team I saw was the Richmond Braves. Visiting my Grandfather in Richmond, I have a few occasions to see the Braves at “The Diamond.” Sadly the Braves were relocated to Gwinnett, Ga. this season.
The city of Richmond has since been looking for another team to replace the Braves. Part of the problem is that “The Diamond” was not exactly the most modern facility. I’m not sure how necessary this is but considering the fact that the only other minor league ballpark I’ve been to is Raley Field (home of the Sacramento Rivercats), I can’t say for certain. It (“The Diamond) had a very college baseball feel to some extent though Richmond is not a giant sports hub. It is a wonderful city that doubles a quality college town (Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and Virginia Union among others) and was the birthplace of Arthur Ashe, Moses Malone, and Bruce Smith.
The former home of the Giants Double-A team was Norwich, Conn. I have never been to Connecticut but like most people I know it for ESPN, the Whalers, and UConn. I also know that it was never the seat of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Yes, Richmond was the capitol of the Confederate States and has a rather large statue in honor of General Richard E. Lee. It’s not gaudy but it’s there in “the Fan” section of Richmond along with a statue of Arthur Ashe.
Richmond has come quite a long way in the 144 years since the Civil War ended and is a very nice place to visit. It is about an hour south of Charlottesville where the Cavaliers are having an up and down football season. William and Mary?! Oh my. The scuttlebutt is that “the Diamond” will be refurbished for the Giants but considering the money they have tied up in Dave Roberts, Randy Winn, and Edgar Renteria, it may take a lot of votes and public funds. And we all know how quickly Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T was voted on.
In the meantime, the artist formerly known as the Connecticut Defenders will be rechristened the “Richmond Defenders” or something equally snappy. Maybe the Richmond Rusty the Robots or the Richmond Crazy Crabs.