The Charleston RiverDogs today announced that the club has been invited by the Tampa Bay Rays to become one of its minor league affiliates for the 2021 season and beyond. The Rays were previously the RiverDogs’ MLB affiliate from 1997-2004 and will replace the New York Yankees, Charleston’s MLB affiliate for the past 16 years.
“The RiverDogs are thrilled to welcome home the defending American League Champion Rays,” said Jeff Goldklang, president of the RiverDogs’ ownership group. “Our Group has had an uninterrupted relationship with Tampa Bay for over 25 years, and simply put, they’re consistently one of the best-run teams in all of Major League Baseball. The quality of prospects and on-field success of their farm teams is unmatched, and we can’t wait for our fans and partners to enjoy the Rays experience.”
The Rays appeared in the 2020 World Series and their minor league affiliates have mirrored that success, with seven league championships amongst its non-complex teams over the past 10 years.
When the RiverDogs were last affiliated with Tampa Bay, in 2004, the then-Devil Rays had just completed their 7th MLB season. They had a young core that included B.J. Upton, Rocco Baldelli, Carl Crawford, and Jason Hammel, who all honed their skills at The Joe as members of the Charleston RiverDogs. First-round draft picks Josh Hamilton and Delmon Young also played under the Tampa Bay affiliation in Charleston.
“The Rays have great memories from our previous tenure in Charleston and are excited about the opportunity to renew that relationship,” said Rays director of minor league operations Jeff McLerran. “Player Development is central to our goal of remaining atop the American League, and good development starts with good affiliate partners. The RiverDogs management team provides a great environment for our players to learn, train, and compete. Additionally, the city of Charleston is second to none, and the RiverDogs’ fans create an atmosphere where our players and staff will want to push themselves as far as they can for years to come. We can’t wait for Opening Day.”
While there will be a new Major League partner for the organization, the RiverDogs say the community can still expect the same entertainment every time they pass through the gates of Joseph P. Riley Jr., Park. Fans will still enjoy their favorite promotions such as dog days, dollar beers, events in the Segra Club, and more.
“Since 1994 we have centered our primary focus around providing affordable family fun for people of all ages and backgrounds in the Charleston area,” said RiverDogs president and general manager Dave Echols. “MLB affiliations change, and we’re blessed to partner with one of the best. Rest assured, our mission will not.”
Fans can learn more about the RiverDogs new affiliation by visiting the RiverDogs’ website, www.riverdogs.com or following along on social media, @ChasRiverDogs.