Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Charleston RiverDogs

The last time I was at a Charleston RiverDogs game was in the early 1990s. I can’t remember much about the game except that it was in the old ballpark and the seats were very close to the field. The bugs were so bad that the field umpire stopped the game and got some bug repellent from one of the fans. I followed suit and borrowed some and rubbed it on my face. It made my lips numb. But it kept the bugs away. Today the RiverDogs play in slick Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. It is a beautiful red brick and green I-beam constructed park that is strikingly similar to the the pattern used by retro-park rebuilds that were the craze at the time. It left Charleston with a top-notch facility that fans can be proud of. To pay tribute to its home state of South Carolina, palmetto trees are planted along the outside of the outfield wall. It also has one of the largest high-definition scoreboards I have seen in single A ball. Combine that with a wide, open air concourse on the backside of the ballpark and you have a winner. Additionally, the fans and staff were some of the friendliest I have encountered. I love the south.

The location of the stadium is also unique. It is very near the bay/river and the first base side concourse butts up against some very wet marshland. The continuous breeze keeps the skeeters away. For a small market single A team it also boasts a good offering of food. Including..wait for it...the River Dog.

Bun-very fresh. No complaints.
Taste-a Hebrew National frank. That’s two days in a row. It makes my mouth happy.
Toppings-pretty paltry for the regular dog. I was only able to score mustard and relish. The standards, but if you want more you have to get it from the specialty dog stand.
Price-$3.50 is a fair price for a great tasting dog.
Portability-it is wrapped, which is best, but the River Dogs use regular aluminum foil. This is too stiff to wrap hot dogs as it can smush the bun.
It Factor-it took me a while to find it but the first base side has a specialty dog stand that offers a fine selection of over the top hot dogs. Try the “Home Wrecker” dog that you can design yourself.

Location-for all practical purposes it is downtown Charleston.
Access-bus, drive, ride your bicycle.
Cleanliness-Charleston does good job of keeping it clean.
GA Ticket Price-and $8 GA ticket will never grab top score. But, like many parks, it gets you a really good seat.
Fans-decent sized crowd for a Tuesday night, and the fans were engaged.
Ambiance-The “Joe” has a real retro-feel to it and the baseball vibe is strong. Top score.
DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability4.5GA Ticket Price4.5
It Factor5Fans5
The Wetlands

A score of 57 is a strong showing for a Single A ball club. Coincidentally, the Charleston Riverdogs is partly owned by funny man Bill Murray. I use one of his lines from the film “Ghostbusters” when someone gives me grief about eating all those hot dogs. They like to point out things like nitrates, fat, cholesterol and everything else to rain on my sausage parade. I simply look at them and say…”back off man, I’m a scientist.”

The book that will chronicle the fantastical road trip that this blog covers is now 37% funded via Kickstarter cloud funding. You can be part of history and help bring "Gone to the Dogs" to print by visiting my kickstarter page. At least watch the video and see how handsome I am.

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