This month, we caught up with Todd “Parney” Parnell, the father of two daughters and sports executive whose job it is to keep Richmond’s Flying Squirrels on top of their game.
As vice president and chief operating officer of the Squirrels for nearly five years, Parney says his greatest accomplishment is the connection he has helped foster between the baseball club and the Richmond community.
Besides being a perennial front-runner in attendance for the league, under Parney’s front office leadership the Flying Squirrels have launched Go NUTS For Reading, a program to promote literacy with close to 40,000 children from the region participating. In addition, the Coats for Kids drive at the ballpark last fall resulted in the collection of more than a thousand coats for needy families. “It makes me proud to see how we have impacted the whole RVA community,” says Parney.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Parney moved to Richmond in 2009. Just two seasons later, he was named Eastern League Executive of the Year. This year will mark Parney’s twenty-sixth season keeping minor league baseball interesting for one and all.
Keep reading to learn more about the man behind the Flying Squirrels – father, funny guy, executive, and Richmond’s favorite baseball fan, Todd “Parney” Parnell.
Mountains or beach?
During the fall, the mountains are gorgeous and I love the leaves. But there’s nothing like the sound of the waves, my feet in the sand, and a drink in my hand.
Dogs or cats?
It depends on the breed, but in a perfect world, I’d love to have a dog and a cat, and teach the dog to use the litter box.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what food would you want to grow on trees?
I really enjoy apples but they grow on trees anyway, so in a hypothetical world I’d love beer and steak to grow on trees with an occasional wine branch.
What’s the last live performance – concert, play, or musical – you attended in Richmond?
I’m at The Diamond every night and that, for good or bad, is a live performance. But I recently had a great time at The Legwarmers at The National.
Favorite Richmond restaurant for the whole family?
Way too many favorites to name just one. I absolutely LOVE the food scene here.
When it’s just you and your honey?
My girlfriend and I love all kinds of places, but a Friday night dinner in Shockoe Slip at Hard Shell or Morton’s, followed by a stop at Southern Railway Taphouse and Sine is a great evening. Poe’s Pub in Church Hill is another winner.
What is your favorite way to spend a rainy Sunday?
In my business, rain is not good any day, but farmers need rain so I try not to get mad about it.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Right now, Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks, and Atlantis in the Bahamas.
What is your energy source?
I have been on a recent health kick, so the majority of my energy comes from protein and high-quality essential fatty acids. And people! Especially my co-workers, players, and fans of the Squirrels.
Favorite Richmond outing?
Richmond Flying Squirrels game, a race at RIR, or a visit to Ed McLaughlin’s suite at a VCU basketball game.
Finish this sentence: “My family loves it when I…”
Have all of my sports friends text them on their birthday. My daughter Sammy got over 150 texts on her seventeenth birthday last year.
Readers will be surprised to know:
I go to The Diamond every day of my life all year long. Generally, people think we only work in the summer and that couldn’t be further from the truth.