A fun new feature is built into right field of the mayor's proposed stadium in Shockoe Bottom: an Exxon station.
As outlined, the ballpark's outfield fence snakes around the existing gas station, convenience store and car wash at Broad and 18th streets, making right field about 40 feet closer to home plate than left field.
To the layman, the shape may appear unfortunate. But the quirk will make play in the stadium only more exciting, says the ballpark's would-be tenant, the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
"It's going to be more fun to watch a game with these dimensions," says Chuck Domino, the team's chief executive manager. "There's going to be more home runs, more runs scored, more doubles, and more kind of funny — well, I shouldn't say funny — interesting bounces off the wall."
Domino says the wall in right field would be about three feet higher than the rest of the wall to compensate for its closer proximity to home plate.
Steve Uphoff, who owns the gas station, isn't participating in the proposed ballpark development.
Teams have leeway when it comes to determining where to place outfield fences, and dimensions vary by stadium. Domino notes that most modern stadiums aren't symmetrical, albeit, not quite in the same way the Shockoe stadium won't be.
While the inset gas station may look funny, it really isn't that big of a deal, says Mike Parent, who owns a national company that builds ballparks and isn't involved in the Richmond development.
"You see some unique layouts," he says. "But just because one side is shorter than the other — both teams are playing on the same field, so it's not an unfair advantage."