Take a Trip Around the Minor League Bases in South Carolina

By:Megan Sexton

Date:9/2/2014

Minor league baseball is much more than the action on the field.

It’s watching a three-legged race down the third base line between innings.

It’s a giant frog mascot showing off his moves in a dance-off with players and coaches near the dugout.

It’s a yellow lab delivering a basket of extra baseballs to the umpire between innings.

It’s a homewrecker sandwich at a ballpark known as The Joe, named for the city’s longest-serving mayor.

It’s, quite simply, a great way for a family to spend a summer evening.

And you can experience it in nearly every corner of South Carolina.

Fluor Field in Gree​nville, BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle B​each and Joseph P. Riley Park in Charl​eston are each home to Class A baseball teams. The ​Greenville Drive is a minor league team of the Boston Red Sox; the Myrtle Beac​h Pelicans, a Texas Rangers affiliate, and the Charle​ston River Dogs, a N.Y. Yankees farm team. The Charlotte Kni​ghts, a Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, play in Fo​rt Mill.

“Minor league baseball really is about families,” said Mike deMaine, general manager of the Greenville Drive. “It’s a great atmosphere for families to enjoy each other’s company … and it’s a great value for their dollar.”

The Drive play in a cozy stadium on the edge of downtown​ Greenville designed to look like Boston’s Fenway Park, complete with the Green Monster wall in left field. The warehouses just beyond the outfield wall bring a taste of Baltimore’s Camden Yards, and the rooftop and balcony viewing from nearby condos offers a little of Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

We took a pleasant walk from our downtown Greenville hotel to the ballpark on a recent Saturday, although shuttles are available throughout downtown for fans who want a ride. Once there, we munched on some peanuts and hot dogs, watched the kids see how fast they could throw a baseball, sang along to “Sweet Caroline” (another reminder of Fenway) and were entertained by Breakin’ BBoy McCoy, who did a pretty impressive Michael Jackson dance routine atop the first-base dugout

It all added up to an entertaining night at the ballpark.

And the home team won.

Greenville Drive stats:

Where: Fluor Field at the West End, downtown Greenville
How much: Ticket prices are $5 to $9.
Just for kids: Kids can’t resist the play area near the entrance down the left-field line. Reedy Rip’it, the energetic frog mascot, is a big hit with kids, too.
Don’t miss: Baseball fans will love the touches that make Fluor resemble Boston’s Fenway, including the 30-foot high Green Monster in left field and “Pesky’s Pole” in right.
Extra stuff: Fireworks every Friday.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans stats

Where: BB&T Coastal Field, 21st Avenue North, just across the street from the Broadway at the Beach entertainment complex.
How much: Ticket prices range from $8 to $13.
Don’t miss: Deuce the yellow lab. He stole the show at a recent game we attended, bringing a basket of balls to the umpire and then running the bases after the game. (A treat at each base led him from first to home plate.)
Just for kids: At a game this summer, kids couldn’t get enough of Splash, the official Pelicans mascot (who is, naturally, a pelican). He’s the clown of the ballpark and is always ready to pose for a picture. Another plus for kids: After every home game, kids can run the bases with Splash and Deuce.
Extra stuff: The left-field beach. The real one is just a mile or so away, but the Pelicans park features its own version that can accommodate up to 120 for special gatherings – complete with lounge chairs.

Charleston River Dogs stats

Where: The Joe (officially called Joseph P. Riley Park). It’s on the waterfront close to The Citadel and not far from downtown Charleston.
How much: Ticket prices range from $6 to $17
Don’t miss: The food. The Travel Channel’s Adam Richman tried the massive Homewrecker Hot Dog as part of his Man vs. Food gig. But the new item on the hot dog menu – the pig on a stick – caught our attention. It’s a foot-long, bacon-wrapped corndog.
Just for kids: Every Sunday is Family Sunday. There are face-painting stations and inflatables on the concourse, and families can play catch in the outfield before the game.
Extra stuff: Saturdays are giveaway days at The Joe. The first 1,000 fans receive a gift – baseball cards, bobble-heads, hats, etc.

Charlotte Knights stats

Where: Knights Castle, just off Interstate 77 in Fort Mill.
How much: Tickets are $7 to $14
Don’t miss: Homer the Dragon. He’s hard to miss (the green guy with the orange hair). You’ll find him riding his four-wheeler, throwing T-shirts to fans and delivering pizzas. Just watch out: He is known to bop people with his tail.
Just for kids: The Levine Children’s Hospital Play Zone features a carousel, rock climbing wall, jumbo slide, speed pitch and other activities for kids. It’s on the first base concourse.

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