Richmond, VA - The Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, have announced today that their loveable mascot Parker the Rally Pig has decided to officially retire prior to the 2016 Squirrels season. Parker alerted the Squirrels and the Eastern League earlier this week of his retirement, stating that he wanted to go out "on top of his game" as one of the best rally-inciting mascots alive. Parker, along with his good buddy and fellow mascot Zinger the Acorn, have moved from The Diamond to a small farm in Chester, VA. Parker's new home - deemed "Parker's Rally Pad"- is a state of the art pig pen with plenty of room to roam. Parker retires with a list of accomplishments including leading the Squirrels to a remarkable 206-148 home record during his five seasons and an appearance on ESPN (linked here). The Flying Squirrels will unveil their new female mascot on Opening Night April 14th with Jerome Bettis throwing out the first pitch.
"Parker has meant a lot to our fans and this organization and we will miss seeing him around the ballpark on a daily basis," said Flying Squirrels' Vice President & COO Todd "Parney" Parnell. "Over the years Parker and I became really close, we talked every day so I had a feeling this might be coming. The trend nowadays is for athletes to pack it up in their prime, look at Calvin Johnson and others. We are happy for Parker that he might be able to mingle with more pigs than people down on the farm."
Parker the Rally Pig became the third mascot to join the Flying Squirrels' cast of characters on March 6, 2011. Originally known as "Piggy 3", Parker was chosen from a group of four piglets by Flying Squirrels Vice President and COO Todd "Parney" Parnell at the Pig Pickin' Contest during the Squirrels' inaugural Fan Fest. The name Parker was chosen from a poll conducted in conjunction with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which received nearly 6,000 total votes. The winning moniker collected more than 3,000 votes!
While his hard work and dedication to the team will be missed, Parker has made it clear that he is happy in his new home. The Flying Squirrels organization thanks him for his years of service to the team and community he has called his own for many years. Parker received an array of parting gifts for his duties and maybe, just maybe, he left the pig pen door slightly open for a potential return one day if he is needed in the Championship Series at The Diamond.
The Flying Squirrels 2016 home schedule begins April 14th at 6:35 PM against the Altoona Curve with Hall of Fame Running Back Jerome Bettis throwing out the first pitch. Season tickets, mini plans, and group packages are currently available by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com. The Squirrels will be the visiting team at The Diamond for Homerun Weekend from April 7th-9th for a three-day, four game series against the Hartford Yard Goats due to uncertainty surrounding the Hartford ballpark opening date. April 7th will be the first game in Hartford Yard Goats history.