2017 will be comprised of 140 total games, down from 142, which begin on Thursday, April 6 against the Hartford Yard Goats. Hartford has been without a home all of 2016 after stadium delays have lasted throughout the entire season. This year the two teams opened the season as well, with the Yard Goats being welcomed to the Eastern League by playing "host" in Richmond to get them some "home" games on their schedule with delays to their own park. Hopefully they won't try to move in with the Squirrels at The Diamond in 2017.
The two fewer games on the schedule was done for the benefit of player development, according to Eastern League President Joe McEacharn. "The added off days during a five month season have become necessary to meet the needs of MLB partners while still catering to our passionate fan bases across the league. This move will serve to bring consistency to each AA league schedule in 2016 and allow greater flexibility with travel and All-Star game logistics. We’re confident that this will be a seamless transition for fans with real benefit for the overall welfare of the entire development system."
After a four game set with Hartford to open the season, the Flying Squirrels will remain at home for another three games against the 2016 division-leading Altoona Curve (Pirates) before setting off on their first road trip of the season. There is a stretch in August that will have Richmond playing 10 of 13 on the road that includes games against Harrisburg (Nationals, road), Akron (Cleveland, home) Erie (road) and Trenton (Yankees, road).
Richmond will be the host to the Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) on July 4, the eighth straight year that baseball will be played at The Diamond for Independence Day. The All-Star break will be just one week later from July 10-12.
There will be three trips to Bowie (Orioles) and Harrisburg and two trips to Reading (Phillies), Hartford (Rockies), Altoona, Akron, Trenton and Erie. Only one trip will be made to Binghamton (Mets), Portland (New Hampshire not Oregon, Red Sox) and New Hampshire (Blue Jays), so if you're a Giants fan in those areas, you'll only get one crack in 2017.
Richmond also announced that Monday through Thursday night games will start at 6:35 local time, while Friday night games will once again be held at 7:05. Saturday games will be held at 6:05, while on Sundays Richmond hopes to get a jump on the rest of the minor league schedule by starting at 12:05.
The monthly breakdown is as follows: April (23), May (30), June (27), July (27), August (29) and four September games against Bowie at home to close out the regular season.