The National League Championship Series kicks off tonight, pitting the St. Louis Cardinals against the San Francisco Giants to decide who will get to play in the World Series.
The Giants have won 2 World Series titles this decade (2010, 2012) and seem poised to make a serious bid to return to the Fall Classic, and baseball fans in the San Francisco Bay Area can direct their gratitude 3000 miles away to Virginia’s capital city for their chance this year. Richmond is the home of the Flying Squirrels, the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and some faces familiar to baseball fans in Richmond will be among those sprinting to their positions when the Giants take the field this evening for Game 1.
3/4 of the starting infield got seasoning in Richmond on their way to San Francisco-1B Brandon Belt and SS Brandon Crawford played for the Flying Squirrels in 2010, and 2B Joe Panik played here in 2013. Off the bench, Andrew Susac batted .256 in 84 games for the 2013 Richmond squad; he will be Buster Posey’s backup. INF Matt Duffy played just this year in Richmond, batting .332 with 62 RBIs in 97 games, and will be a valuable player off the bench. OF Juan Perez drove in 93 runs over two years (2011-2012) with Richmond. Fellow OFer Gary Brown played in 134 games for the 2012 Richmond squad.
On the mound, reliever Hunter Strickland notched 11 saves for the Squirrels in 2014 before bypassing AAA and going right to the Giants.
The National League Championship Series starts tonight, guess who baseball fans in Richmond will be rooting for?