CHARLESTON, SC - From the knick knack beach shops and putt-putt golf paradise of Myrtle Beach to the gorgeous historic downtown and food haven of Charleston, the South Carolina coast offers locals and travelers alike two distinct Palmetto State experiences. Home to two of the more successful operations in Minor League Baseball, the cities will fight for the title of America's premier destination city in the only way they know how -- on the ball field -- as the RiverDogs open their season with the first installment of the Battle of the Beaches.
Announced jointly by RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols, along with Andy Milovich, his counterpart with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the two teams will play an exhibition game on Wednesday, April 6, at 7:05 pm at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The second installment of the coastal clash is set for the 2017 opener at Myrtle Beach's TicketReturn.com Field.
"We're thrilled to announce this addition to our 2016 home schedule and finally have the chance to settle the dispute on which city really is the premier vacation stop," said Echols. "It's only natural that we start in the Number One destination city in America."
"We're incredibly excited to partner with the RiverDogs on a series that will showcase two of the finest Minor League Baseball franchises, each with storied Major League affiliates, playing in two of America's premier family vacation destinations," said Milovich.
Charleston and Myrtle Beach, home to some of America's very best beaches, are separated by just 95 miles on US Highway 17. Charleston was named the Number One tourist destination in America for the fifth straight year by the Conde Nast Traveler in 2014 and named the best small city in America when the award was split into two categories in 2015. Myrtle Beach's accolades include "Best Beaches for Families" and "Best Place to Retire."
While attracting tourism in their own ways, the two cities have also served as the home for some of the most successful organizations in minor league baseball.
The Pelicans, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are coming off a 2015 Carolinas League championship and receiving the Bob Freitas Award for the best overall operation in Minor League Baseball (at the Advanced-A level), while the RiverDogs begin their 12th year as a New York Yankees affiliate coming off a record attendance year when 292,661 passed through the gates at The Joe.
Opening Night for the RiverDogs, with all the fanfare fans have come to expect, is still set for April 7 as the Columbia Fireflies come to Riley Park for the first time. The RiverDogs and Fireflies play a four-game set (April 7-10) while the Asheville Tourists conclude the opening seven-game homestand with a three-game block that runs from April 11-13.
The RiverDogs will be managed by Luis Dorante for the third consecutive year. He will be assisted by former big leaguer and Mt. Pleasant resident Greg Colbrunn as hitting coach, Justin Pope as the pitching coach, Travis Chapman as the defensive coach and Michel Hernandez as the catching coach. The Pelicans will be led by former Double-A Tennessee skipper Buddy Bailey, who is the seventh manager in team history. He will be joined by pitching coach Anderson Tavarez, hitting coach and former New York Yankee Mariano Duncan and assistant coach Juan Cabreja.
RiverDogs Director of Fun and lifelong Cubs fan Bill Murray could not be reached for comment.
Tickets for the exhibition are included for all RiverDogs season ticket holders and single game tickets will go on sale on Monday February 1. Lower level tickets (box seats and lower reserved) will go for $10 each while all upper section tickets (upper reserved and general admission) will go on sale for $5. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the MUSC Children's Hospital.
Ticket information for this game and all of the RiverDogs 70 home games in 2016 may be secured by contacting the box office at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.