RICHMOND, Va. -- On what would typically be Opening Day for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, seats were empty at The Diamond and there were no players on the field. The Flying Squirrels held a different kind of Opening Day.
Todd ‘Parney’ Parnell, the team's COO and most outspoken advocate, walked the bases dozens of times. It was part of an effort called "500 Bases of Love for Covid-19 Relief." The goal was to raise money for Richmond-area COVID-19 relief efforts.
“One of the things I love about the Flying Squirrels and the Richmond community is we are resilient,” Parney said.
He started the walk at 6:35 a.m. Thursday -- dedicating each lap and each base to a community sponsor.
“It’s breaking all of our hearts not to have opening night,” Parney said. “But we wanted to do this to give our fans and the Richmond region a way that we can connect on Opening Day.”
In total, Parney walked more than 8.5 miles, spanning 125 laps and 500 bases. Sponsors made donations of $25 for a base, and $100 for every lap.
“I think this gives us some purpose for today and we couldn’t be more grateful for all the people that have donated,” Parney said.
As he walked around the bases, Parney said the idea came just 10 days ago and that the Richmond Flying Squirrels raised more than they expected.
“That makes us feel great,” Parney said.
After the walk ended, The Richmond Flying Squirrels announced on their social media pages that $20,000 had been raised.