‘Batter up!’ at The Joe

by | March 2, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: February 26, 2019 at 2:46 pm


The recent spate of unseasonably warm weather has me thinking springtime with the smell of baseball is in the air. That means going the one hour (48 miles from Walterboro) to the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park, more lovingly called “The Joe” in Charleston. Here the Charleston RiverDogs play their home games. The “Dogs” are a minor league farm team of the New York Yankees who play in the South Atlantic League more affectionately known as the “Sally League.” And yes, it’s the best entertainment deal in town!
When we travel, I’ve made a point to catch minor league games in cities like Greensboro, N.C., Savannah, Ga., Dover, Del., Durham, N.C., St. Paul, Minn., and more. It’s always the entertainment bargain for the sports-loving person.
If going to the ballpark and having a good time, especially family time, is important to you, then the RiverDogs should be on your horizon. The value is sensational for the return when you can say you saw players like current New York Yankee stars Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez start their career, along with other past and current upcoming players in the Yankees farm team network.
The ballpark is located right along the Ashley River in Charleston, under 50 miles from Walterboro. It’s a naturally beautiful location with great sunsets or for watching a storm roll in. The park is intimate, if you will, holding about 7,500 people at capacity. The seating is part of the allure of minor league baseball — no sitting up in the clouds or “take-out-a-loan box seats” of the larger stadiums. Every bleacher seat is hard and backless so at least bring a seat cushion for your close and personal experience of the game. I’ve even caught a fly ball or two. A family of four can attend a game for under $40 and, yes, the “peanuts and crackerjacks” are available as well as many other food choices — all reasonably ballpark priced.
The team has many game promotions such as Date Night, Senior Citizen Night, and Friday Night Fireworks after the game. Be sure to check the RiverDogs’ promotion schedule when buying tickets. Many of the day games feature events just for kids like Running The Bases Game and fun play games between innings.
Groups can arrange to have together seating, a picnic or buffet on the large upper deck, and kids can play on Shoeless Joe Jackson Hill along the right field wall.
Parking is easy and affordable and even free some nights. Handicapped parking with a golf cart to help the disabled is available. The ballpark is also handicapped-accessible with special seating for wheelchairs; otherwise, all seats are reached by stairways. An elevator is available to the upper viewing area. Senior discounts are available on all ticket categories.
The RiverDogs go way beyond when it comes to family events with bring your dog nights, and game time fun with mascots Charley T. RiverDog and his mate Chelsea! Who wouldn’t want to stand in the middle of the seventh inning and sing “Take me out to the ball game …” and not feel the least bit embarrassed!
So if you like rooting for the home team, take yourself and a friend or two or the whole family for some great baseball in a fun place. Who knows, you may spot actor and part owner of the RiverDogs, Bill Murray. Or Joe Riley, 40-year mayor of Charleston, the park’s namesake.

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