Phil Karstetter and Curt Dozier
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Commonwealth University baseball is preparing for another season of spring excitement, but this year when the Rams take the field things look much different in the stadium.
The Rams will play their home games in The Diamond on the Boulevard for the 25th consecutive season.
“You know when fans come to the ballpark this year, I think it will have that same Diamond look, but a completely different Diamond feel to it,” Rams Assistant Coach Shawn Stiffler said.
The luster of the Diamond has been restored in large part by a $1.5 million face lift paid for by the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Richmond’s new professional baseball franchise.
The Flying Squirrels know the Diamond’s changes benefit the baseball experience in Richmond.
“There have been advancements since 1985 when the stadium came to be, but it can be a phenomenal fan experience and that’s what we plan to provide,” Flying Squirrels Director of Media Jon Laaser said.
The Diamond’s renovations began in October with 3,200 new individual seats, a new video board, remodeled luxury suites and a new infield.
VCU is coming off their worst record in 15 years after being just 20-26 in 2008-2009. Some students believe the restored home field could help the attendance of this year’s Rams.
“I think it could definitely help, there isn’t enough word out about VCU’s team and if the Diamond’s nicer it definitely should,” VCU Communication Arts junior Chris Lindquist said.
Both the Flying Squirrels and VCU know the relationship between the two organizations benefits VCU Athletics.
“I think the future has never looked brighter; they are a fan of VCU and VCU athletics in general,” Stiffler said.
The Rams will play 27 home games this season and open up on Feb. 23rd against Liberty University.