After a one-year absence, minor league baseball has returned to Richmond, Virginia.
Officials announced earlier today that the Eastern League’s Connecticut Defenders franchise, which just lost in the championship round to the Akron Aeros, will move to Richmond in time for next season. The team will play at The Diamond (the ballpark that contributed to Atlanta’s departure after the 2008 season) and its affiliation with the San Francisco Giants will continue at least through 2010.
Greg’s Connecticut Defenders Blog referred to the move last week as “the worst kept secret in minor league ball”; apparently the Eastern League has been looking to get this done for quite some time. He’s holding out hope that the Defenders will be replaced by a short-season team as early as 2010 while accepting that the era of Double-A in Connecticut has come to an end.
If forced to find a silver lining to the situation, I guess this is it: the folks in Richmond are holding a contest to name their new team. Entries must be submitted by September 30; one grand prize winner will receive a package that includes two season tickets for life, while four runners-up will two 2010 season passes. I think I might suggest “Richmond Ashes,” for Richmond native Arthur Ashe, but there are a ton of potential names out there.