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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

The Diamond - VCU Rams

Photos courtesy of Gregory Koch

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57

The Diamond 3001 North Blvd Richmond, VA 23230

Year Opened: 1985 Capacity: 12,134

The Ram’s Diamond

Virginia Commonwealth University, known as VCU for short, is located in Richmond, Virginia. VCU's athletic teams, the Rams, are best known for the basketball team's trip from the First Four to the Final Four in 2011. However, the baseball team has enjoyed success as well, with 13 NCAA Tournament appearances including nine since 2000, and a Super Regional appearance in 2015 after winning the Dallas Regional. The Rams play their home games off-campus at The Diamond, which is also the Richmond Flying Squirrels minor league baseball team.

Food & Beverage 3

Although there are many concession stands at The Diamond, only one of them is typically open for VCU games and serves a somewhat different menu than it would for the Flying Squirrels. Hot dogs, corn dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and chicken tenders are all available for meals, as are snacks such as nachos, popcorn, hot pretzels, chips, fries, and of course, peanuts and cracker jack. Water, soft drinks, and Gatorade are available to drink, as is hot chocolate on cold days. Although most college baseball stadiums do not serve alcohol, The Diamond is a professional stadium, so adult beverages are on sale here for VCU games as well. Beer is available in 25 oz and 16 oz cans, including the Flying Squirrels' own brand, Feeling Squirrely. Prices are reasonably affordable, with even the most expensive option (five chicken tenders) being under $8 and most things being much less.

Atmosphere 2

The Diamond is a giant concrete monstrosity that is way too big for Flying Squirrels games, yet alone VCU games where only a few hundred fans typically attend. Fortunately, they close off the upper deck to fans when VCU is playing (although a couple fans still somehow managed to find their way up there when we attended) but even the lower level is still way bigger than it needs to be. Fans will have to walk up a large flight of steps from the entrance just to get there, although an elevator is available for those who need it. The end result is that although Rams fans pride themselves on being rowdy, the crowd is just too spread out to create much atmosphere. This stadium is a lot nicer than most college stadiums despite its age - it is a professional ballpark after all - but that winds up working against it in many ways as well. Ultimately, a cavernous and mostly empty stadium is not going to have a good atmosphere no matter how many bells and whistles it has.

Neighborhood 4

There isn't much to in the immediate vicinity of The Diamond, which is right across the street from a bus station. However, it is a short drive away from the bustling Carytown neighborhood and everything it has to offer. Carytown Burgers & Fries and the Galaxy Diner are local favorites, but you can also find coffee shops, Thai, pho, and more. There are a few places closer to the stadium but we recommend heading into Carytown if you can.

Fans 3

As noted above, Rams fans pride themselves on being rowdy, and the ones who show up certainly are. They cheer on VCU throughout the game, stay until the end, and love playing their cowbells during major moments in the game as well. Unfortunately, their impact is greatly diminished by the fact that The Diamond seats over10,000 fans and there are typically only a few hundred in attendance. When attendance as a percent of capacity is in the single digits, that is never a good thing. That being said, this is not really the fans' fault, and they do try their best to make things work here.

Access 5

The Diamond is located just off of Interstates 64 and 95,and parking is available for free in a spacious lot right next to the stadium. It is easy to get to from the airport and right across the street from the Greyhound bus station. The parking lot will almost certainly never fill up, but there are several more lots surrounding the stadium if it does. Given the stadium was designed for much larger crowds than attend a typical VCU game, fans should have no problems getting around the concourse, and there should never be a wait for the restrooms either. Although there is a clear bag policy in effect at The Diamond for Flying Squirrels games, and signs warn fans about that as they walk up to the gates, it does not appear to be enforced for VCU games.

Return on Investment 2

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for youth, which is on the high end for Atlantic 10 baseball. However, concessions are affordable and parking is free, which it is not for Flying Squirrels games in the same stadium, so that is a plus. A trip to The Diamond will probably cost less for a VCU game than it would for a minor league game, but the difference in cost savings isn't as much as it should be given what you are getting for your money.

Extras 1

Free programs and posters are available on a table on the concourse. .

Final Thoughts

Although The Diamond is the home of VCU baseball, it doesn't feel like it when watching a game here. Seeing all the Flying Squirrels banners and all the shuttered concession stands selling awesome food that you can't eat, it is obvious that VCU plays second fiddle here to the main tenants. Unfortunately, with the VCU campus located in a densely populated area of downtown Richmond, it would be pretty much impossible for them to build an on-campus stadium, so this is the solution they are stuck with. It is not good for the fans, it is not good for the team, but somehow everyone manages to make the most of this unusual situation.

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