Jul 22, 2022 - News

The Squirrels season is a thing to behold

Illustration of a squirrel wearing a baseball cap.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Richmond Flying Squirrels may be best known locally for their endless lineup of game-day promotions and bargain prices on stadium beers.

  • Tonight's giveaway item, by the way, combines both fascinations: a Squirrel's-branded "patriotic beer belt," which conveniently holds six cans for easy, waist-level access.
A man models a beer belt
A Squirrels staffer models an official Squirrel's beer belt. Photo courtesy of The Flying Squirrels

Yes, but: This year, the team is also actually good.

  • The city's plucky Minor League Baseball affiliate is headed to the playoffs for the first time in eight years and smashing team records along the way.

Here's a look at some of the highlights, lowlights and a few choice tips to help you enjoy the game.

The playoffs: The team beat the Akron RubberDucks at the end of last month to secure their spot.

  • It was a big deal. Players celebrated the feat by drinking at least 500 beers under the grandstands, team manager Todd Parnell tells Axios.
The players celebrate my throwing beer on each other.
Squirrels celebrate after clinching a spot in the playoffs. Photo courtesy of The Flying Squirrels

The personalities: This year's team is big on swagger, but there are two names you should especially keep an eye out for.

  • Frankie Tostado, a first baseman with long, flowing hair and a name that demands to be chanted, has a history of coming through with clutch hits.
  • Then there's Sean Roby, who broke the team's single-season home run record (21) in front of a sold-out July 4 crowd.
  • One of Roby's hits also broke a windshield in the parking lot, Parnell tells Axios, so be careful this year when parking near the backstop — the team stands by those big "not liable for damage" signs, though they did arrange an autograph session with the car's owner.

The drama: The season hasn't been all sunshine and homers.

  • We're looking at you, Altoona. The Pennsylvania team's pitchers have repeatedly hit Squirrels players during at-bats this season.
  • Fights aren't particularly common at Squirrels games, but Altoona provoked the team to clear the benches twice this season — though we're told the confrontations were mostly limited to trash talking.

The schedule: The team is in town for a 10-game homestand that kicks off tonight.

  • General admission tickets are $13 day-of, and be warned: The team has an oppressive new policy banning most bags that aren't clear.
  • Once you're in, you should know that the $14, 32-ounce craft beers are a better deal ounce-for-ounce than you'll find at the breweries themselves.
  • And go early if you're trying to snag a giveaway item — cough, beer belt, cough — they're normally limited to the first few thousand customers.
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