The Diamond, which cost $8 million to build, opens and is home to the Richmond Braves, Atlanta's Triple-A club, in town since 1966. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority owns and operates the 12, 134-capacity stadium on behalf of the city and the counties of Henrico and Chesterfield. Those jurisdictions paid for half of the construction cost, and private funds covered the other $4 million.
The Braves begin suggesting that The Diamond needs improvements. They focus on expanded clubhouses, and the additions of batting cages and a fitness area for the benefit of their players, but also note that the stadium could use upgrades that would increase fans' comfort.
Former City Manager Calvin Jamison discusses a potential stadium on the Ethyl-owned land near the Federal Reserve. The plan receives minimal support.
A football-sized piece of concrete falls from The Diamond's roof into stands during a Sunday game. No one is hurt.
Hurricane Isabel lays waste to a portion of The Diamond's wooden outfield fence, and tears off a piece of the roof. Rebuilding the fence and repairing the scoreboard and sound system costs about $76,500.
Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield counties support an $18.5 million renovation of The Diamond. It is to include the addition of lower-level seating and reduction of the upper deck, an outfield berm, installation of box seats, construction of an open-air concourse, renovation of clubhouses and public restrooms, and addition of concession areas. Construction is scheduled to start in September of 2004.
A group of local businessmen form Richmond Ballpark Initiative and propose a $58-million stadium in Shockoe Bottom. The renovation of The Diamond is postponed as the Braves and city officials ask for time to study the plan for a downtown ballpark. The RBI proposal fades with financing, parking and traffic concerns.
Rain, poor drainage at The Diamond force 15 R-Braves' postponements or venue changes, nine more home dates lost than any other IL club.
Charles S. Macfarlane, a state aviation official with development experience, proposes a $40 million, 7,500-seat ballpark for Mayo Island. (One of Richmond's minor-league teams, the Colts, played on Mayo Island 1921-41.) Other informal proposals include a ballpark in Manchester, off Interstate 295 in Henrico County, and near Interstate 95, not far from The Diamond's location.
Braves and Global Development propose $330 million live-work-play village, which would include a ballpark, in Shockoe Bottom. The Diamond, reduced in size, would be centerpiece of a sportsplex for VCU baseball, a VCU tennis center, and other venues for high-school competition. The Braves/Global Development plan never gains traction.
Mayor L. Douglas Wilder proposes that a ballpark be built at the old Fulton Gas Works in the city's East End. That idea failed to gain support.
Chesterfield County official confirms that the Braves have expressed interest in the site of Cloverleaf Mall, at Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway, as a potential home for a new stadium.
Braves announce that their Triple-A franchise will move to Gwinnett County, Ga., following the 2008 season, because of the organization's dissatisfaction with The Diamond. No Triple-A franchises are available to move to Richmond.
Richmond Braves General Manager Bruce Baldwin said the intersection of Interstates 95 and 295, where Henrico County officials tried to attract the NASCAR Hall of Fame, could work as the site for a new ballpark.
Local businessman Bryan Bostic leads a group interested in buying a Double-A franchise and moving it to Richmond. He also supports a $318 million downtown project, Shockoe Center, which includes a $60 million ballpark. Highwoods Properties, also behind the development, withdrew the plan amid questions about its feasibility.
Bostic's group, Richmond Baseball Club LLC, fails to raise the money to purchase a Double-A franchise it had been pursuing (Connecticut, of the Eastern League).
Eastern League President Joe McEacharn pledges to Mayor Dwight C. Jones that one of the Double-A league's 12 franchises will move to Richmond for 2010 season. That turns out to be Connecticut, a San Francisco Giants' affiliate, which maintains its ownership group.
Opening Day Partners wants to transform The Diamond with a $28 million renovation that would make it a venue for baseball and other community activities. Plan includes removal of concrete upper deck. It is not seriously considered.
A 17.5-acre property owned by Reynolds Packaging in Manchester, on the south bank of the James River, is proposed as a possible ballpark location. Reynolds closes shop at the site, but the proposal goes nowhere.
Connecticut franchise officially relocates to Richmond. Flying Squirrels is the winner in a name-the-team contest.
The Diamond's capacity is reduced from 12,134 to 9,560 with advertising banners covering upper-deck seating areas. The Flying Squirrels invest about $2 million in upgrades, including folding seats in lower level, where aluminum bleachers were in place.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels open play at The Diamond, which Eastern League and club officials emphasize is not a long-term solution to Richmond's ballpark problem.
Squirrels invest about $250,000 more in upgrades for The Diamond.
Jones announces that the city will use interest rate savings from paying off old debts as debt service for the city's share of a new ballpark that's expected to cost about $50 million.
SPECIAL REPORT: Pro Baseball in Richmond
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