The official requests for bid proposals went out late last week, just before South Carolina's Jordan Montgomery threw the first pitch against Clemson in a three-game weekend rivalry series the Gamecocks swept.

After two years in Greenville, the neutral site games for the next four years are up for grabs. The minor league Charleston RiverDogs, which hosted the 2012 game at Riley Park, will bid aggressively.

So will Greenville.

Myrtle Beach and Charlotte are interested.

Once again, geographically speaking, Clemson head coach Jack Leggett prefers the convenience of Greenville. South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook, like predecessor Ray Tanner, likes the idea of moving the neutral site game around - particularly to Charleston.


Riley Park should be as much a destination ballpark for Clemson as Charleston is for world travelers.

Everyone in the Clemson baseball program, and anyone with business interest in the school, should be lobbying for all the Lowcountry exposure they can get.

The Gamecocks aren't just winning in baseball (23 wins in the last 31 games against Clemson dating to 2007) and football (five straight), South Carolina is leading the branding battle in this half of the state.

Smart, sophisticated CEO types call this a "dangerous trend." Non-MBA degree holders are also aware that there is a major Gamecock gear retailer on King Street, but not much Clemson presence in the shopping heart of a destination city.

So what if many Clemson baseball players come from metro Atlanta. Hey, Jack, check with those parents: Bet they'd love an excuse to visit Charleston.

The Bill Murray factor

The RiverDogs are eager to help.

"I have been, and am currently trying, to communicate with both schools to reiterate our position and desire to host," RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols said. "They are aware of this interest."

Maybe Clemson owes the RiverDogs one. RiverDogs co-owner Bill Murray did a hilarious job as ESPN "GameDay" guest-picker before the Clemson-Florida State game last October. Murray was on hand to greet both the Gamecocks and Tigers before the 2012 neutral site game at Riley Park.

But this won't be easy.

The minor league Greenville Drive, with its sparkling Fluor Field and nearby restaurants, does an excellent job.

Charlotte has a new downtown stadium for its triple-A Charlotte Knights, set to be ready for opening day next month.

North Augusta, with a new minor league ballpark planned for the Augusta GreenJackets on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River, eventually wants into the competition. The ballpark probably won't be ready for a 2015 bid.

A South Carolina-Clemson neutral site rotation model, featuring Charleston and Greenville as anchors:

2015 - Charleston

2016 - Greenville

2017 - Myrtle Beach

2018 - Charleston

2019 - Greenville

2020 - Charlotte

2021 - Charleston

2022 - Greenville

2023 - North Augusta

Baseball and branding

Of course, it might be easier for Charleston if Clemson cooperated for its own sake.

Clemson's trustees didn't get to be trustees by making poor decisions in their professional lives. Surely, they understand the stakes of market share slippage on the South Carolina coast, where newcomers arrive daily with disposable income and no rooting interest in the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry - at least until they walk down King Street.

It's nice that Clemson's basketball team has appeared in the Charleston Classic twice since 2008, but not very significant.

The Tigers aren't about to sign up for a football road game at Charleston Southern, The Citadel or Coastal Carolina.

So it's up to the baseball program to spread Clemson's athletic message, and erase the notion that the Tigers don't really want to play a neutral site game in Charleston.

A few extra hours on the bus for a home state goodwill tour isn't much to ask for a school in need of a branding boost.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff