The Richmond Flying Squirrels, the San Francisco Giants' Double A farm team, are in a giant shadow...they're in a San Francisco Giants' shadow; is the shadow the World Series champions, again the champs, cast a beneficial one or does the fan of a minor league team have a wish, a hopefulness for more.
I went to a dozen Flying Squirrel home games at The Diamond last year (2012) and I found a unique atmosphere and an excitement which is as unique as any hometown sporting event is from any other. The promotions at The Diamond in Richmond couldn't be replicated at any other ballpark because each site requires a different promotional approach. The major league teams around the country would have a hard time recognizing local projects and causes deserving of attention, but they still need to try.
For example in Philadelphia I used to attend Philadelphia Phillies games in the 1980s and the Philly Phanatic was always nearby...in my last visit to Veteran's Stadium there was a display of frisbee-catching dogs and it was spectacular; they were well trained athletes worthy of attention.
At The Diamond there are scheduled fireworks throughout the season and a daily ritual of wheeling a pig around the perimeter of the infield in I believe it was the fifth inning: the pig's name was Parker. You can visit the pig during the game on the first base side concession area on the lower level. There are daily (human) sausage races at Squirrels' games, copying the ritual that has been the fashion at Milwaukee Brewer's games since the 1980s. There are human sausage races because everyone knows actual sausages and bratwursts and hot dogs are slow and bore the fans...
These Flying Squirrels ballplayers--especially the pitchers--have distinguished themselves and you will see a few of them with the big club soon: Chris Heston, a pitcher with the Flying Squirrels in 2012, is now on the Giants' 40-man roster and might have a slot in the Giants' starting rotation in 2013...time will tell. Having talented players to watch is always a bonus and it's fun to follow players progress through the minors and to the major leagues.
The San Francisco Giants began winning championships the same year the Flying Squirrels were born: in 2010 the Giants won their first World Series rings since they moved from New York to California in 1958. They've won two out of three years now with the 4-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers last Fall.
When squirrels fly they now fly higher than ever because the Giants are as visible and popular and successful as they've been since Willie Mays wore a Giants' uniform in the 1950s and 60s.
Say Hey, Kid!