- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
HARRIS: Redskins camp makes Richmond major league, if only for 3 weeks
And now they have the Redskins’ training camp, which doesn’t exactly make Richmond a major league town but lets it feel like one for a while and lets it dream about maybe becoming one.
For three weeks, charismatic VCU basketball coach Shaka Smart won’t be the biggest name in area sports. That will be RG3, who drew loud applause just for showing up in the field Thursday along with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and pretty much anybody else wearing a burgundy-and-gold uniform.
The Redskins are already popular in town. The team said 5 percent of its season-ticket base has a Richmond-area ZIP code. Now they’re in town.
“The Redskins have a huge fan base in the area and that’s only going to increase by having the training camp here,” Jones, the mayor, said. “The first-hand encounters with the players are really going to be huge.”
Jones is a bit of a dreamer, probably a good trait to have in a mayor. He sees training camp as not the end of a quest but the beginning. Who had Oklahoma City as a pro town a dozen or so years ago? While Oklahoma City is more than twice as big as Richmond in terms of population in the city, the metropolitan areas are similar in size at about 1.2 million.
“I think it is kind of like a coming-out party,” Jones said. “If we can do this, maybe we can do something else. It is whetting people’s appetites. It is an opportunity to say we can compete. If Oklahoma City can do it, we can do it, too. To me, Oklahoma City seems kind of like a miracle with what they’ve been able to accomplish. They had the will to get it done.
“Richmond, being on the East Coast with good population and demographics, should be able to get it done. You really have to be thinking of the next levels: Where do we go from here? Are we going to be satisfied or are we going to push the envelope on sports?”
Richmond still needs a new coliseum to replace the 41-year-old relic that sits downtown. It needs a new baseball stadium, lest it lose another team. Those projects will be bigger and much more expensive than a training camp facility.
“Vision is something everybody likes to talk about. At some point, you have to move on all those visions,” Burton said. “I think Richmond is starting to do that. I look at the 15-year snapshot since I’ve been here and this is a different town.
“We need a new coliseum. We need a new stadium for the Flying Squirrels. The better your facilities, the more legit you become. This was a huge first step. Can Richmond ever support a [major] pro sports team? I don’t know if it can for 52 weeks, or for a full season. We can for three weeks.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Washington Times sports editor Mike Harris has more than 30 years experience in the business as a reporter, columnist and manager. He’s covered a wide variety of events including two Olympics, horse racing, auto racing, professional and college sports. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the section on Twitter @WashTimesSports.
- HARRIS: Blown game leaves Caps missing the point
- HARRIS: Dust off the snow as Nats spring training heats up
- HARRIS: Caps have work to do to keep playoff streak alive
- Caps' Canadian contingent cheers for country over Carlson
- HARRIS: Will Alex Ovechkin sulk or soar after Olympic failure?
Latest Blog Entries
- Gio Gonzalez living a dream by throwing bullpen sessions to ex-Yankee Jorge Posada
- Meet Connor Carrick, the youngster who played his way onto the Caps' final roster
- Go Aggies: Nationals notes and lineups for Sept. 14
- RG3: There is no conflict with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
- Sunday Nats-Dodgers lineups and some thoughts from reliever Craig Stammen
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- EDITORIAL: As jobs vanish, Obama wants more of same
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again