Photo provided

Charlie The RiverDog has been counting the days until the first pitch of the 2021 baseball season. He doesn’t have long to wait. The team announced today that it will open on May 4.

Charlie, never a dog to slip into depression, has missed baseball. Like many fans, he couldn’t attend games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He couldn’t attend practices. He couldn’t give many high-fives to kids, moms and dads — because there weren’t any games. And for all of 2020, he didn’t send a single, solitary tweet.

“It’s been a challenge for him to have no baseball at The Joe,” according to Charlie’s dog whisperer, a staff member who asked to remain anonymous. “Baseball season is the best part of every year, and to not have games and not see all of the fans was really hard for Charlie.”

So he spent his time getting ready for this year, including enjoying some of the delectable edibles at the stadium.

“Lately, he’s been testing out a lot of menu items that fans can enjoy once games return to The Joe,” said RiverDogs President Dave Echols. “Charlie enjoys eating hot dogs, playing catch and working on his dance moves. This offseason, he’s also been working as a Zoom call moderator and counting the days until the first pitch.”

File photo by Rūta Smith

Unlike fans who may have indulged a bit during the pandemic, Echols reassured City Paper readers that Charlie didn’t eat too many doggie bonbons when relegated to his doghouse.

“Charlie has been doing a lot of exercising and reading over the off-season,” Echols said. “Charlie doesn’t put on weight. He just relocates it. In fact, Charlie maintains his belly year-round to make sure he always has plenty to shake for the fans.”

Charlie also thoroughly enjoyed setting up a new reading club for kids in recent months. “It was great to be a resource for families, teachers and, of course, kids,” his whisperer said.

Murray with Charlie | Photo provided

Charlie also made sure to keep up with actor and part-owner Bill Murray, the RiverDogs’ director of fun.

“He told Charlie to work on his dance moves, because 2021 is going to be a great year for Charleston baseball.”

The RiverDogs, now affiliated with the 2020 American League champion Tampa Bay Rays, have their first home game May 4 at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park downtown.

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