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Prince George
County, VA

Working relationship linking Flying Squirrels, Giants will continue into 2021

John O'Connor
Richmond Times-Dispatch

The marriage between Richmond’s Double-A franchise and the San Francisco Giants will continue in 2021. The Giants on Wednesday formalized what was expected, extending an “invitation” to the Flying Squirrels. That’s how affiliations are arranged this offseason, when MLB’s grip on the minor leagues tighten considerably.

The Flying Squirrels’ ownership and management team will examine the language of the offer and accept or decline. Acceptance seems highly likely.

Unknown is the length of the agreement. The Washington Nationals during the offseason explored the possibility of relocating their Triple-A team to Richmond from Fresno, Calif.


The Nats’ Triple-A team ended up in Rochester, N.Y., but Washington is believed to remain interested in Richmond, if a new ballpark is built. The Diamond, outdated by modern standards, opened in 1985.

The Eastern League franchise that began play at The Diamond in 2010 was the Albany-Colonie (N.Y.) A’s from 1983-84, and was a New York Yankees’ affiliate from 1985-2002. In 1995, the franchise relocated to Norwich, Conn., and became the Norwich Navigators, a nod to the United States Coast Guard Academy and a U.S. submarine base, both near Norwich.


In 2003, the Yankees switched their Double-A team to Trenton, N.J., and Norwich became a Giants’ affiliate. In 2005, Lou DiBella formed a partnership and bought the Navigators for about $10 million.


In May of 2009, Eastern League President Joe McEacharn pledged to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones that one of the Double-A league’s 12 franchises would move to Richmond for the 2010 season. The Norwich franchise relocated to Richmond in September 2009, with DiBella is the Squirrels’ president and managing general partner.

Minor league teams did not play in 2020 because of the pandemic, and the usual April start may be pushed back in 2021 for the same reason.

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