A Minor League Love Story: Parney And His Baseball Family

Chuck Greenberg once described longtime minor league executive Todd “Parney” Parnell as the best people-person in all of baseball, that he has a natural talent for building relationships with people from all walks of life. What becomes clear in talking with Parney, the vice president and chief operating officer of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, is that he cares for the people around the game at least as much as they care for him.

Todd Parney Parnell is one of the most colorful figures in baseballParney has used that passion and love for baseball and people to become one of the most well-respected—and certainly the most energetic—operator in minor league baseball over the past three decades. From Reading to Altoona to State College to Richmond, Parney has matched a colorful personality with an even more colorful wardrobe to do anything and everything for the sake of the team. That attitude has made the Flying Squirrels one of the most popular teams in the minors since Parney helped launch the franchise with Chuck Domino in 2010.

What follows is my conversation with Parney in which he discusses his approach to people and running a team, and why he loves minor league baseball so much. The transcript has been edited in spots for length and clarity.

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Outraged Over Amarillo’s Name? Remain Calm. It’s All Part of the Plan

The new Amarillo franchise set to make its debut in the Texas League next season announced the five finalists for its new name earlier this week. As expected, the choices are hardly traditional, which of course is the new minor league tradition.

Temporary logo for Amarillo's new minor league team.Whether people love or hate the idea of a baseball team being named the Boot Scooters, Bronc Busters, Jerky, Long Haulers or Sod Poodles is not really the issue. What matters is that people are talking about it, that local and national media are reporting on it, and that fans are visiting the team’s website to vote on it.

This is all part of the Brandiose tried-and-true formula for launching a new franchise. The company that has worked with 63 minor league teams on their identities and is responsible for leading the minors down this path of silliness has followed this script for more than a decade to help introduce everything from a Jumbo Shrimp to a Flying Squirrel. Brandiose’s golden rule: Attract attention. It’s key to building a brand.

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp's Minor League Baseball Logos

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