Fans drive Squirrels to 2nd place for attendance in Eastern League
7/9/2015, 1:37 p.m.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels have four Eastern League all-stars, but the real stars of the team, as usual, are its fans.
On July 4, a sellout crowd of 9,560 fans showed up for the Squirrels’ 7-3 win over Akron. Then on July 5, another 7,799 fans were present for the Squirrels’ 2-1 victory over the Rubber Ducks.
Both games, though rain plagued, were followed by fireworks celebrations. The Squirrels surely lead the Eastern League in crowd-friendly fireworks.
Every Thursday and Saturday game offers post game fireworks. There are special promotions for all games.
The added “treats” are working.
Through 41 dates, Richmond (42-38 starting the work week) was averaging 5,726 fans per game, and was second in the 12-franchise Eastern League to Reading’s 5,859 average draw.
Since the Squirrels moved to Richmond in 2010, here are attendance figures and the Squirrels’ rank for attendance in the Eastern League:
2014: 6,336 average, first in the Eastern League
2013: 6,689 average, first place
2012: 6,257 average, second place
2011: 6,679 average, second place
2010: 6,626 average, first place
Richmond is a Class AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Prior to arrival in Richmond, the franchise played as the Connecticut Defenders.
In Norwich, Conn., the team drew an average of 3,076 fans per game in 2009 (last place in the Eastern League), 3,015 fans in 2008 (next to last place), 3,004 fans in 2007 (last place) and 2,755 fans in 2006 (also last place).
Squirrels CEO Todd “Parney” Parnell has found the winning box office combination on The Boulevard with family oriented fun. It helps that Richmond is part of the pipeline to a classy Giants organization that won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Many former Squirrels now play regularly with the Giants.
The River City to San Fran connection includes shortstop Brandon Crawford, second baseman Joe Panik, first baseman Brandon Belt, catcher Andrew Susac and pitcher Chris Heston, who fired a no-hitter June 8 against the Mets.