RICHMOND, Va. — In what is being called the worst ballpark promotion at The Diamond since the former Richmond Braves’ “Tequila Tuesday” in 1997, the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ “Bring Your Dog to Fireworks Night” resulted in unmitigated, cataclysmic disaster for the organization on Saturday.
The event, which was intended to be a relaxing night that would allow folks from around Richmond to enjoy a baseball game with their pets, turned into chaos when every canine in attendance collectively freaked out as the post-game fireworks began.
Witness accounts of what specifically precipitated the incident have been sparse, as police and rescue teams have quarantined the area, and few survivors have been willing or able to give a statement. One attendee, Nicholas “Chad” Toce of Richmond, recalled a chaotic and frightening scene.
“Duuuuuuuuuuude,” Toce said in a recent statement. “Holy SHIT, bro! Fuckin’ look, right, the fireworks were all like goin off and shit, y’know? Like BFFFF! FWOOOOM! PZZSSHHH!! And the fuckin’ DOGS started all spazzin’ out like they were in, I dunno, a fucking earthquake or something, and shit was INSANE, bro. And me and my friend Kyle were like, shit, this is way better than watching baseball.”
One witness from outside the ballpark, 28-year-old Britney Millsaps of Richmond, reported an alarming noise radiating from the direction of the Diamond. “I was like a mile away over at Circuit in Scott’s Addition, and it sounded like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park was screaming right outside the front door,” Millsaps said. “It was the scariest thing I ever heard.”
Police and fire teams responded to the incident within minutes of receiving more than 400 calls to 911 in the first three minutes of the show. Audio obtained from multiple calls corroborated Mr. Toce’s account, with audible GRAAWWWGGHHs followed by “OH GOD, MY ARM!” in a woman’s voice.
Richmond Police spokesperson Lieutenant Barnold Fife issued a statement shortly after the blaze had been extinguished and more than 1,000 canines had been subdued. “We are still investigating the matter, however, our preliminary assessment indicates that the animals within the ballpark were immediately overcome by a mass case of the zoomies,” Fife said. “Hundreds of doggos and puppers just losing their shit every which way.”
The Flying Squirrels front office has yet to release an official statement. However, Squirrels Vice President and COO, Todd “Parney” Parnell, was on scene in a bathrobe and slippers shortly after the incident and spoke to The Peedmont.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” a visibly distraught Parnell said. “We’ve had such good success in the past with ‘Bark in the Park,’ and fireworks nights are always our biggest draw. It seemed like combining the two was a no-brainer.”
“I just want to assure our fans that we are going to get to the bottom of this, and I hope they’ll continue coming to The Diamond to cheer on the Squirrels just as soon as we get some new players in here. We hope the community can forgive us for this one.”
The Squirrels’ series against the Harrisburg Senators and Erie SeaWolves will be rescheduled for a date later in the season. Next Friday’s series against the Bowie Baysox is still expected to occur as planned, however the scheduled promotion, Amateur Falconer Appreciation Night, has been cancelled.
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