Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park

From BR Bullpen

(Redirected from Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park)

Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park.jpg

Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, SC, is the home of the Charleston RiverDogs, the Tampa Bay Rays' Low-A East farm team. Joe Riley, among U.S. history's longest-serving mayors, led the city from 1975 to 2016.

The ballpark also hosts the annual Legends in the South game of retired big-leaguers. Begun while the 'Dogs were a New York Yankees' affiliate, the first four editions featured retirees from the Yanks and the South's first team, the Atlanta Braves. After the Coronavirus pandemic killed the 2020 minor league season and with MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization moving Charleston back to the Rays, the game resumed with the format now former Braves vs. a combined team of Yankees and Rays retirees. Another exhibition, the pre-season Battle of the Beaches with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, was dropped when the reorg put the two clubs in the same league.

Opened in 1997, "The Joe" first topped 300,000 in season attendance in 2017 – thanks largely to a visiting fan magnet and that year's total solar eclipse. The blackout drew 5,274, while Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow's three weekend dates averaged 7,048. Attendance stayed above the benchmark without those factors in 2018, but the house single-game record remains the 8,426 at their 2007 home opener. That mark was most threatened later in the 2005-2020 Yankees era: Alex Rodriguez and Eduardo Nunez played together during their 2013 rehabilitations, but their top crowd was 8,255.