RICHMOND, Va. — In a shocking statement released this morning, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced that the Richmond Flying Squirrels have been upgraded from “threatened” to “endangered” on the International Endangered Species Watchlist. The announcement came after the Squirrels experienced a third straight year of population decline due to a combination of poor fielding, last-minute trades, and unusually warm winter.
“We’ve really never seen anything quite like this,” commented Madison Richards, a zoologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Sure the Squirrels usually begin the pre-season with concerning stats but they normally rebound ahead of the regular season. We’re just not seeing that this year.”
Officials first became alarmed after relief pitchers Ray Black, Christian Jones, and Andrew Suarez were eaten by predators in January and third baseman Ryder Jones was wounded after being hit by a UPS truck in late March. Worries intensified after attempts to coax Squirrels left fielder Tyler Horan to breed in captivity failed.
“We’re trying everything in the rulebook,” commented Hitting Coach Lipso Nava, “Stool samples didn’t reveal any red flags, just the standard amount of sunflower seeds, Monster Energy drink, and Vicodin.” Coaches and scientists have been exploring options such as changing the lineup, introducing more females to the group, and even offering bonuses for home runs with no positive results. Added Nava, “We’re getting on base, but almost no hits and definitely no runs.”
The WWF projected that the remaining Squirrels have between four and six years to turn things around before Richmond could permanently lose the team. In the meantime, fans are gearing up for what could be one of the Squirrels’ final baseball seasons.
“It’d be a real tragedy if we lost the Squirrels,” commented Richmond resident Shane Harrison, “I just can’t imagine a world without Chris Shaw. I won’t be able to look my grandkids in the eye unless we’ve done everything we can to save them.”