Minor league baseball spent 2020 on the bench as the major leaguers got through a strange, shortened, 60-game season with no fans allowed in ballparks.
The Charleston RiverDogs intend to take the lead in helping the sport and Charleston get back to baseball normal.
For a franchise historically bent on madcap ideas, that means more “Fun is good” stuff made famous by former co-owner Mike Veeck, still a front office advisor.
The RiverDogs on April 19 announced their 2021 promotional calendar.
Theme: “Here for the Holy City” (complete with a #HFTHC hashtag)
It begins with the May 4 start of a six-game, season-opening homestand against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and includes Toilet Paper Night, a June 26 attempt to “wipe away” memories of COVID-19 shortages as the RiverDogs face Augusta.
The first 1,000 fans, gifted with toilet paper rolls, will be invited to “TP the ballpark” after the game.
“We are thrilled to be able to open The Joe to fans and provide a sense of normalcy in the Lowcountry as the RiverDogs remain #HFTHC,” RiverDogs president Dave Echols said. “We are up to the challenge of executing the RiverDogs’ experience of having affordable family fun.”
So, yes, the RiverDogs will be renamed the Charleston Boiled Peanuts for their games May 19, June 26, July 27 and September 9.
Promo calendar mainstays from previous seasons include Thirsty Thursdays, Friday Night fireworks and family Sundays, plus Saturday Night Live at The Joe, featuring helicopter ball drops or LED light shows.
Among the team’s themed promotions:
• Rays Welcome Party, May 8. The American League champion Tampa Bay Rays are the RiverDogs’ new Major League Baseball affiliate, replacing the New York Yankees. The first 1,500 fans at the game vs. Myrtle Beach will receive a bobblehead of Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow. And the first 50 fans who turn in Yankees gear will get a new RiverDogs/Rays T-shirt.
• Plant Propagation Party, May 23. A free houseplant clipping, small pot and bit of soil to each fan.
• Viral Trends Night, May 29. Celebrating “Wasssuuuppp!” And the macarena dance craze, and Gangnam Style.
• Negro League Jerseys, June 12-13. The RiverDogs and Columbia Fireflies will wear Negro League jerseys on Larry Doby Heritage Weekend, honoring the late South Carolina native who was the first Black player in the American League.
• Holy City Jerseys, May 9, May 30, August 1 and September 13. The RiverDogs will wear special uniforms on four Sundays this season, and ballcaps featuring an interlocking “HC” logo and a halo.
• Charleston Rainbows Pride Night, August 18. The RiverDogs will wear special Charleston Rainbows uniforms in the game against Columbia.
Also during 2021 the RiverDogs will honor the Boeing Military Family of the Game, the Harris Teeter Educator of the Game and the MUSC Healthcare Hero of the Game.
As part of a minor league baseball-wide realignment and downsizing dictated by Major League Baseball, the RiverDogs have moved from the South Atlantic League to the Low A East League, where opponents include Myrtle Beach, Columbia and Augusta.
MLB also set shorter schedules and later start dates, from April to May, for all minor leagues.
For season, group and single-game ticket information see riverdogs.com or call 843 577-DOGS.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff