Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez sat comfortably in the broadcast booth Sunday night at Fenway Park, analyzing a rivalry game between the Boston Red Sox and his former squad, the New York Yankees.
But five years ago last month, A-Rod, in front of a rowdy crowd at Riley Park, stepped to the plate for the Charleston RiverDogs, New York’s low-level Class A affiliate.
The two games in Charleston were just part of a rehab assignment for Rodriquez. But for RiverDogs’ fans, it was a chance to see one of the greatest players in person.
The RiverDogs are celebrating that moment on Wednesday when the team takes the field. Here’s a little more about the night and other things to keep in mind during the team’s seven-game homestand that begins Tuesday:
On Wednesday, the first 1,000 fans to walk through the turnstiles will receive an Alex Rodriguez bobblehead. The promotion is part of Wayback Wednesday as the RiverDogs celebrate their 25th season at The Joe.
RiverDogs president Dave Echols still remembers the energy in the stadium those two days in July of 2013 when Rodriguez played at Riley Park.
“It was a sold-out atmosphere, and everyone just wanted to know about Alex,” he said. “I think he enjoyed his time here and for us it was really exciting. We’ve gotten rehab assignments in the past, but not too many bigger than him.”
Unfortunately for fans, Rodriguez didn’t have the best two-game stretch of his career while in Charleston. The slugger went 0 for 2 in both games, before continuing his rehab with three other Yankee affiliates.
World’s largest paper plane toss
While attendance records are always a fun feat to reach for, the team isn’t stopping there.
On Saturday’s Military Night, the RiverDogs will partner with Boeing and attempt the world’s largest paper airplane toss after the game. The thousands of fans in attendance will each get a paper airplane and throw them at the same time.
Other promotions throughout the homestand include: Thirsty Thursday on Aug. 9; Jewish Heritage night on Aug. 12; and Rainbows Pride Night on Aug. 13.
The RiverDogs have had a tough stretch recently, losing eight of their last 10 games. But with 26 games left in the season and just four games back of first place, there’s still time for the team to capture that top spot in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League.
Plus, the RiverDogs have home-field advantage on their side, since 15 of those 26 games are at Riley Park.