Members of the Richmond Flying Squirrels attended Fan Appreciation Day at Redskins Training Camp on Saturday.
Richmond Flying Squirrels catcher Steven Lerud and right fielder Tyler Horan posed for photos, signed autographs and mingled with fans on Fan Appreciation Day at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., on Saturday.
For two players used to being the main attraction, Horan and Lerud enjoyed engaging with the community as fellow fans just a mile and a half down the road from their home ballpark.
"It's cool to change up the scenery," Horan said. "We're always at the ballpark, so we're both out here supporting football because we love the sport. It's cool to be out here supporting them but at the same time we're fans of [the Redskins] also."
The Flying Squirrels set up a tent along the main walkway at the training center where the players could speak with fans and hand out Squirrels swag before practice.
"This is a really cool experience for everybody, obviously we're going through the same things as some of these guys out on the field right now," Lerud said. "It's a grind and I wish them all the best."
As minor league players hoping to make the Major Leagues, Lerud and Horan identified with the players working to make the 53 man roster.
"They're at the professional level and we're making our way up to the major leagues for ourselves," Horan said. "We're both living out our dreams trying to play the sport that we love, so it's really nice being out here supporting them. [The Redskins] have come to our games, so it's really cool seeing all the fans come in."
DeAngelo Hall, who attended Virginia Tech, threw out the opening pitch to Horan before the Flying Squirrels game on July 31 (Lerud called the pitch a swinging strike even though it skipped into the dirt). For Lerud and Horan, both Virginia Tech alums, it was a special moment to exchange autographs with a fellow Hokie who has achieved success at the highest level.
More than anything, the Flying Squirrels relished Fan Appreciation Day as another way to strengthen their relationship with the local community. "It's a great community already, we see it every night with the fans that they bring out to our ballpark, and you can see it has trickled into this too," Horan said. "These people love the Redskins.