SAL all stars mix with RiverDogs fans for FanFest

By Eric

CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- The fun started early Tuesday for fans outside Joe Riley Park in Charleston.

Following Monday's home run derby aboard the Yorktown, fans geared up for baseball Tuesday afternoon. They had plenty of support from players as well as one special guest.

Armed with bats and balls, RiverDogs fans took full advantage rubbing shoulders with the South Atlantic League all-stars.

"I come to a lot of the RiverDogs games," said Bob Hayes. "It's a treat."

"We're looking forward to meeting the players and getting some autographs," Meier Tannenbaum said.

Just outside of Riley Park, FanFest for the SAL All-Star Game proved to be the perfect precursor to Tuesday night's game. The RiverDogs' biggest booster, Bill Murray, led the way to the ballpark during a short parade. League all-stars, little-leaguers and more followed Murray's lead.

"I'm glad we got out of there before the rioting began. The crowd was pretty excited, crowd was pretty excited," Murray said.

Afterwards, Murray posed with fans and also signed his fair share of autographs -- just like the players who kept their pens and fingers pulsing for the fans who waited patiently to get as many signatures as possible.

Why? Fans said it's because{}you never know whose name may one day make it big.

"It's nice to show off the ballpark and the team. We've got a good team. I think this is the finest team we've had," said Murray. "I think the whole league is very, very high this year, very elevated."

As you may imagine, much of the fan base was in agreement with Murray's analysis.

"Watching these players, they're playing their hearts out so they can advance. That's what makes it worth it for me," Hayes said.

And all the signing and posing, Murray says was just a warm-up, even in the hot sun.

"I've got a lot of bounce back in me," he said.

The fans who came out early also got to watch batting practice and the final round of the SAL home run derby.