Family Photographer in Charleston, SC

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We've all heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words". And photos really are a special way to help tell the story of our lives - who we are and what's important to us.

And, of course, some images speak to us more strongly than others. More often than not we love a photo not so much because it shows us how we look but because it captures a very human element that is hard to express in words an authentic connection with those we love or with ourselves and how we show up or want to be seen in the world.

Whether you're looking to capture someone's attention with a professional headshot or want to commemorate the beautiful connection with your partner or family, I can help.

My name is Adam Chandler, and as a professional photographer in Charleston, SC. I truly find joy and fulfillment in the work I do. I love the adventure of photography and I continually immerse myself in learning and exploring how to improve my craft which includes learning new ways to connect with and capture my subjects. I truly understand that, for many people (if not most), even the idea of having your picture taken can cause a good bit of discomfort and anxiety. That's why I place so much importance on putting my subjects at ease while also really listening to any concerns or wants they have for their session.

I draw upon my technical knowledge of photography, my ability to connect with people, and my creativity to produce beautifully memorable photos for my clients. I believe that my unique creative vision and many years of experience combined with the way I strive to give my clients the most enjoyable experience possible sets me apart from some of the other great photographers in Charleston.


Service Areas

Family Photography Charleston, SC  Photographer Charleston, SC


Now that you know a little about my background, let's take a look at some of
my most popular photography services in Charleston: My mission is to beautifully capture the joy and connection of each unique family while also creating a fun experience for my clients.

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC

The importance of family is hard to overstate. From children to grandparents to nieces and nephews, families and the family dynamic can grow and change before you know it, with many beautiful milestones taking place along the way.

I think that one of the best ways to remember some of these important moments of togetherness is with a fun family photo session.

I absolutely love photographing families and, while no two families are the same, I always strive to give each session my all in order to best connect with and capture the uniqueness of each family. Even though each session is somewhat different, I approach each one with the same goal: to capture the distinct personality, affection, and energy of each family in order to provide authentic, engaging pictures and a joyful experience.

Whether you have a toddler that you want to celebrate or have grandparents in town for a visit, Charleston is an amazing city for family photography. There are so many locations in the Lowcountry that make for great family photography backdrops:

  • Beaches - Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island, Kiawah, Seabrook, Isle of Palms, Hilton Head, Edisto Beach
  • Popular Places - Washington Square, Broad Street, Hampton Park, Waterfront Park, Shem Creek, The Cistern at College of Charleston
  • Historical Sites - Charleston Battery, Fort Sumter, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Rainbow Row

Whatever location you choose for family photography in Charleston, the Holy City is a wonderful place to explore and enjoy with friends and family.

As a family photographer in Charleston, one of the reasons why I love working with families so much (in addition to getting to meet some really awesome people) is the opportunity to combine my creativity with my ever-evolving technical skill. I also gladly accommodate the style preferences my clients are looking for - be it more traditional, posed images, or candid, playful pictures.

I use a clear yet relaxed style of direction to get you and your family engaged in our photography session, to help get authentic expressions that really show the unique dynamic and relationships of each family.

Here are just a few reasons why families choose Adam Chandler Photography for their family portraits:

Document Family Growth

Change, of course, is part of life and with each passing year families, too, change and often grow. Each stage is beautiful in its own way and having annual family photographs is a fun way to document the different seasons of family life. Be it a new baby, a birthday or anniversary or simply wanting to capture your kids at each special age, I'd be honored to be chosen to help tell the story of your family over the years.

Remember Milestones

With each year that passes, new milestones are reached. From a child's first steps to a sibling getting married, there is no better way to remember these wonderful occasions than with quality photographs. Whether you're welcoming a new puppy into your life, are celebrating an anniversary or finally have gathered your extended family together in one place, capturing these special times in your life is a great way to ensure you'll be able to enjoy and relive these moments years from now.

Create Memories

Many families tell me before their sessions that it's not often that they are all able to be together and they emphasize how special and important this session is. Or, perhaps, a mom or dad will talk about how fleetingly special a certain age of their child is and how they really want to capture their children's personalities. Even if you capture lots of great moments of your family throughout the year it's likely not very often that all of you are in the pictures at once (other than maybe having a stranger tell you to "say cheese" after you hand them your phone. Having a time that's dedicated to capturing the special bonds between family members - parents and their children, grandparents and their grandchildren, siblings and maybe extended family as well - is so important. We all know just how special these people and moments are and how we tend to treasure these memories more with each passing year.

Portraits And Headshots In Charleston, SC

A great headshot shows you at your best - whether you want to impress a prospective employer or need professional photography for your website. In today's digitally-intensive society, having a professional headshot or portrait of you or your team that stands out for all the right reasons is becoming a necessity. It's no surprise, then, that headshots and portraits are among the most popular genres of photography.

Headshots can be tricky, mostly because many (if not most) people don't like being in front of the camera (trust me, I totally get that). I know that for some clients, it can be hard to know what to do, what to wear or how to relax enough to let their authentic selves come through so that they can end up with a professional photo or headshot that inspires authenticity and confidence.

Fortunately, I have years of experience taking professional headshots of all types of people. No matter what your comfort level is with having your picture taken, I pride myself on being able to create the conditions necessary to help capture my clients as you want to be seen. Through lighting, posing and direct yet relaxed interaction I'll help guide you to great photos that you’ll be proud to showcase and share with others.

A professional headshot or portrait is an investment into your personal brand, and here is why:

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC
 Best Photographer Charleston, SC

Show Your Personality

Not all headshots should be approached the same way. Depending on your industry or how you'll be using the photos, there are certain things to consider. A great headshot reflects not just how you look but also how you show up in the world. It can help give people an idea of the kind of person you are before you sit down to meet them. Oftentimes, too, people may want a variety of "looks" to suit different needs and uses. My goal is to listen to your expectations and then deliver results that will serve you will in your professional and/or personal life.

 Beach Photography Charleston, SC

Show Your Professionalism

Clients, collaborators, investors, and employers are typically much more likely to interview you or to contact you or your business if you look professional. If you've taken the time to invest in your brand, in part by making the effort to arrange a professional headshot, people notice that. And who doesn't want to make a great first (or second or third) impression?

 Family Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC

Stand Out on Social Media

Many of my clients make appointments for headshots and portraits when they want to stand out from the crowd on social media. Whether you own a business and need to create new social media pages or you're looking to network with recruiters on LinkedIn or, perhaps, update your website, a professional headshot can definitely set you apart in the modern sea of selfies and snapshots that you often see out there.

 Wedding Photographer Charleston, SC

Show Off Your Current Look

None of us look the same as we did 10 or 15 years ago yet some of us keep the same photo up for decades. Having outdated headshots can send a message of inauthenticity. When you have up-to-date, professional headshots, you're showing clients and employers that you are confident, committed, and authentic.

 Headshots Charleston, SC

Qualities Of A Great Photographer In Charleston, SC

Being a great photographer means more than owning fancy equipment. While having expensive gear can be quite helpful, the real test of a professional, for me, has a lot more to do with being able to draw upon my deep understanding of the craft of photography so that I can focus more on connecting with and beautifully capturing my subjects without getting bogged down in figuring out the technical side of things. It's taken me many years to get where I am and I'm always striving to improve in order to continue to deliver the best pictures and most enjoyable experience possible for my clients.

Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because my experience shows and they trust me to always give them the results and experience that they're looking for. Here are just a few qualities that my clients appreciate:

 Engagement Photography Charleston, SC


I wholeheartedly consider photography to be an artform - one that requires lots of curiosity and imagination along with a good bit of technique. A great photographer knows how to get beautiful results no matter what the conditions or circumstances are and this only comes with experience and preparation.

Family Photography Charleston, SC


This quality might seem obvious but I can't tell you how many times I've seen photography that may be technically good but is missing something. My passion for photography largely comes from my passion for connecting with people in a way that helps them feel comfortable letting their guard down so they can enjoy the process. And this almost always leads to exceptional, authentic images.

 Photographer Charleston, SC


Patience can also be essential for great photos. As in life, there are many things that we just can't control. Sometimes the best photos come from patiently going with the flow and not trying to force something to happen. I find that when I'm patient yet prepared - ready to capture the right moment or expression when the time is right - that's often the best approach. As a professional with many years of experience, I understand the importance of having the patience to deal with whatever comes my way as well as the flexibility and preparedness to make the most out of any situation.

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC

People Skills

If ever there was a business where people skills were important I think portrait photography is definitely one of them. Knowing how uncomfortable many people can be when getting their pictures taken, I put every effort into helping ensure the best possible experience for my clients and communication is such a big part of that. I love interacting with my clients to build trust and rapport as well as a deep understanding of your expectations including any concerns you may have. As I've said, for me my job is not just about delivering beautiful images but also a wonderful client experience. That's why I focus so much on each and every interaction with my clients. Yes, people skills are a must in this business. Luckily for me, it's one of my favorite parts of the job!

Eye for Detail

As a professional photographer in Charleston, SC I am meticulous when it comes to details. Through my many years of photographing many different types of subjects under many different circumstances I've come to learn just how important details are. Whether it's finding or creating the best quality of light for my clients, eliciting a great expression or
adjusting the background or, perhaps, a piece of clothing, all of these things impact the overall look and feel of a photo. Whether I'm photographing a family, a business professional or a couple in love I always look for all the ways I can create the best image possible.

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC
 Best Photographer Charleston, SC

"As I hope you can tell by looking at my work, I really love my job. And most of all I love the people I get to meet and work with. I'd be honored and delighted to be chosen for your photography needs."

Adam Chandler

Ready to Get Started?

One of my favorite things to do is to talk to clients about what they're looking for and how I can serve them. If you are in need of professional photography, let's talk today about what you have in mind. Whether you're looking for family or couples' photography in Charleston or want great new headshots for you or your team, I'm here to help every step of the way!  

Latest News in Charleston, SC

SC home sales slide for 9th straight month amid budding signs of buyer’s market

The nine-month slide in home sales across South Carolina from rising lending rates has slowed the rapid pace of price increases and slightly boosted inventory amid emerging signs that sellers may no longer be driving the market.“We are seeing a turn from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market,” said Cindy Creamer, president of the Columbia-based S.C. Realtors Association and an agent with Dunes Real Estate on Hilton Head Island. “Houses are on the market longer, and we are seeing price reductions.”...

The nine-month slide in home sales across South Carolina from rising lending rates has slowed the rapid pace of price increases and slightly boosted inventory amid emerging signs that sellers may no longer be driving the market.

“We are seeing a turn from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market,” said Cindy Creamer, president of the Columbia-based S.C. Realtors Association and an agent with Dunes Real Estate on Hilton Head Island. “Houses are on the market longer, and we are seeing price reductions.”

Residential transactions dipped about 11 percent in August compared to the same month a year ago, according to data from the statewide trade group.

In August, 9,511 homes changed hands at a median price of $317,517, up nearly $38,000, or 13.4 percent, from a year earlier. The median price is also down about $11,500 from the record high set across the Palmetto State in June of $329,000.

So far this year through August, 75,542 residences have sold across the state at a median price of $314,233. Volume is down 7.6 percent while the price is up 17.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Even though volume is down, residential sales are still more than 13,500 higher than in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic changed living patterns and led to record sales for the housing industry.

The Lowcountry and Midlands housing markets reported double-digit percentage sales declines last month while the Greenville-based Upstate region showed a slight uptick.

Charleston, the state’s largest market by volume, posted a 24.7 percent drop in closings while Columbia registered an 11.0 percent decline.

Myrtle Beach, the second-largest market in terms of sales, saw a pullback of 8.5 percent. Greenville saw a slight gain of less than 1 percent.

Almost all other regions in the state reported declines, except for markets based in Greenwood, Orangeburg and Sumter.

“We still have supply and demand,” Creamer said. “What we are seeing is more normalizing of the market.”

Pricewise, every metro market in South Carolina posted double-digit percentage increases.

Hilton Head Island continued to lead the state with the highest median price of $459,500. Rock Hill, in the growing suburbs of Charlotte, came in second at $408,745.

Charleston slipped to third place with a median price of almost $390,000 with Beaufort not far behind at $366,500.

Myrtle Beach and Greenville also posted prices in the low $300,000s.

Several areas reported median prices above $200,000, including Aiken, Anderson, Columbia, Greenwood, Florence, North Augusta, Orangeburg, Spartanburg and Sumter.

The Upstate county of Cherokee between Spartanburg and Rock Hill posted the only rate below $200,000.

Would-be buyers not only are contending with higher home prices but also higher borrowing costs than they did one year ago.

Mortgage interest rates have more than doubled from this time last year, and they “will definitely affect first-time homebuyers,” Creamer said.

Home loan financier Freddie Mac reported Sept. 15 the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage climbed to 6.02 percent, the highest rate since 2008. The average rate on a 15-year note, popular for refinancing homes, jumped to 5.21 percent. Both rates were below 3 percent at the same time last year.

“Mortgage rates continued to rise alongside hotter-than-expected inflation numbers,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Although the increase in rates will continue to dampen demand and put downward pressure on home prices, inventory remains inadequate. This indicates that while home price declines will likely continue, they should not be large.”

Creamer, too, noted housing stock is thin but pointed to more homes coming on the market

“Just not enough of them,” she said.

South Carolina sees hundreds of illegal school bus passings one month into school year

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A lack of respect.It’s how the South Carolina School Bus Safety Coordinator is describing an issue we see far too often: cars, failing to stop for a stopped school bus.While school has only been back in session for about a month, hundreds of incidents have already been reported.&ldqu...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A lack of respect.

It’s how the South Carolina School Bus Safety Coordinator is describing an issue we see far too often: cars, failing to stop for a stopped school bus.

While school has only been back in session for about a month, hundreds of incidents have already been reported.

“We’ve received 530 reports across the state of individuals passing a stopped school bus,” said Sgt. Matt Southern, School Bus Safety Coordinator with the South Carolina Department of Education. “So yeah, that’s a good, many reports.”

Those reports reflect a nationwide trend.

Earlier this month, a survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation reported more than 51,000 vehicles illegally passed stopped school buses on a single day during the 2021-22 school year.

“I just don’t think that a lot of folks are respecting that yellow bus,” Sgt. Southern said. “The reason it has those flashing lights, the reason it has that stop sign on it is to protect the most innocent of kids that are getting on and off of that bus.”

While it boils down to a lack of respect, Sgt. Southern says at times, there can be some confusion.

“If you’re traveling the same direction as the school bus, you cannot overtake or pass that bus once those yellow lights come on,” he said. “But if you’re traveling on the opposite side of a multilane highway, you’re able to pass.”

Beyond educating drivers, a statewide pilot program has been in effect since last year, equipping extended stop arms on some buses to further crack down on illegal passing.

“I recently followed behind one of those buses recently in the Lexington area,” Sgt. Southern said. “When it extended those arms in a neighborhood, definitely nobody could get past that bus, which is a good thing.”

Efforts to have arms implemented on all buses in South Carolina came to a screeching halt earlier this year when the state senate failed to pass the $10 million bill.

Meantime, Sgt. Southern is offering drivers an important reminder: “Passing a stopped school bus does have a steep fine. It’s $1,062.50 and six points against your driver’s license. When the lights come on, do what you’re supposed to do. Stop, and then you’re on your way again.”

Historic Charleston Foundation preserves community while curbing displacement

Historic preservation for a better future — that’s the goal of the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF), a preservation advocacy organization that helps guide and educate homeowners with the goal of preserving historic properties and curbing displacement.History of the organization:The ground-breaking program was founded by ...

Historic preservation for a better future — that’s the goal of the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF), a preservation advocacy organization that helps guide and educate homeowners with the goal of preserving historic properties and curbing displacement.

History of the organization:

The ground-breaking program was founded by Francis Edmunds, an innovator and champion of historic preservation in Charleston, a new idea during the twentieth century.

Edmunds and others established the Revolving Fund in the late ‘50s with the purchasing and selling of historic homes with protective restrictions. Those properties became and continue to become part of the Easement and Covenant Program, which protects nearly 400 properties around Charleston.

Did you see the red 75th flags flying downtown earlier this year? Nearly every private property with one of those flags is either an easement or covenant property with historic protections.

Present day:

As the program has grown, it has continued to evolve and adapt to economic and financial changes in the Lowcountry. The Revolving Fund became an overarching umbrella for two main initiatives: the Edmunds Endangered Property Fund (that continues the original work with covenant properties) and the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to help achieve the same goals with a different strategy.

Preservation funds are increasingly hard to come by, leading to the displacement of some of Charleston’s generational homeowners. The cost of maintenance for older homes, particularly in traditionally underserved communities, can limit the homeowner’s ability to remain in their home.

The Common Cause Loan Fund was established by HCF and the Charleston Redevelopment Corporation (CRC) and funded by The 1772 Foundation in response to the growing problem. The program is seeking additional funding and donations from community members like you to complete projects that assist those in need with the resources to stay in their homes.

How the program helps:

Qualifying homeowners receive financial assistance to repair or maintain the exterior of their homes. The Common Cause Loan Fund provides financial support, technical expertise, and partnership engagement with the mission of preserving the communities that contribute to the cultural fabric of the Greater Charleston Area.

This project is funded by a grant from The 1772 Foundation with support from HCF, CRC, and generous community partners and carried out in partnership with the City of Charleston. Loan candidates must meet certain criteria to qualify for the loan, including:

Currently, the program has identified a handful of properties in downtown Charleston, with work starting as soon as the fall of 2022. Once these five projects are complete, the loan fund will have used a majority of its seed funds.

The Historic Charleston Foundation is continuing to seek additional funding and donations to complete projects to support members of our community. To learn more about the program or donate, visit the HCF website.*

Editorial: North Charleston should rise to the challenge on old Naval Base

The city of North Charleston has a long and convoluted history grappling with the vast property that the Navy left behind when it closed its base and shipyard along the Cooper River a generation ago. But the city has an opportunity to write a promising new chapter soon, as it prepares to oversee development of new infill housing just west of the base’s historic officers’ quarters.This city project, which has been in the planning stages for years, is expected to see movement soon, as the many puzzle pieces of redeveloping t...

The city of North Charleston has a long and convoluted history grappling with the vast property that the Navy left behind when it closed its base and shipyard along the Cooper River a generation ago. But the city has an opportunity to write a promising new chapter soon, as it prepares to oversee development of new infill housing just west of the base’s historic officers’ quarters.

This city project, which has been in the planning stages for years, is expected to see movement soon, as the many puzzle pieces of redeveloping the former base finally fall into place.

The Navy left a vast amount of property. The southern end now is occupied by the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal and federal offices, a series of piers and drydocks along the river that are home to assorted industrial uses, and a large swath just to the west being developed as an intermodal railyard to handle containers coming from and going to the Leatherman terminal.

But the jewel of the base always has been its northern end, particularly the officers’ quarters nestled amid a series of rolling hills shaded by dozens of mature, moss-draped trees. This unusually bucolic enclave is a reminder that Charleston had hired the Olmstead Brothers in the 19th century to make the area, once Retreat Plantation, into a vast new park, not unlike what the landscape firm’s namesake had helped do with New York’s Central Park a few decades before. It is here, amid a series of architecturally and historically significant buildings, that North Charleston plans a site for new housing.

We agree that some additional new homes would be an appropriate fit here. We also agree with the city’s vision of having these homes — and the residential portion of the district — gradually feather into the grander historic homes closer to Riverfront Park that have been (or eventually will be) renovated for more commercial, hospitality uses such as restaurants, event spaces and small lodging.

Ensuring that new housing is designed and built in a way that complements the officers’ quarters will be key. The city is on the right track with its infill goal — the officers’ quarters could benefit from additional housing, provided the density, height, quality of materials and design are right. The city should work with the broader community to make sure they are.

North Charleston currently has no architectural review board but plans to create one as part of this project. We not only urge city leaders to follow through on that, but we also urge the public to participate when the time comes.

Doing so might add cost and time, but it could make the difference between a successful project and something less. And it’s not just a question of ensuring suitable architectural design. The new housing should keep the open, park-like setting, so any type of fencing should be a no-go.

The Charleston Naval Yard Hospital Quarters Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, runs west to Hobson Street. Most of the infill is expected in the area just west of that, along Manley Avenue. The city already has razed a handful of 1970s housing structures there to clear the site. The vision, though, would add more homes in the district itself. Again, arriving at just the right number, height and placement will be crucial to maintaining the ambiance.

Charleston’s preservation community has been involved in the base, particularly regarding damage done recently to the hospital historic district. Some of its buildings were lost during construction of a new rail line extending north from the planned intermodal yard, and the state and preservation groups have largely agreed on how that damage should be mitigated.

Building infill on the base’s historic officers’ quarters is a separate issue from that mitigation, but these groups’ experience in advocating for suitable, contextual development in historic Charleston can help North Charleston get its plan right.

“We urge the city of North Charleston to see the proximity of this new housing to an important National Register district as something that adds value to the plan,” Preservation Society Director Brian Turner tells us, “and we hope this is an opportunity to increase public knowledge and awareness of the significance of the landscape.”

Indeed, an ideal project here should not only add new homes and value to North Charleston’s tax base, but also help residents and visitors grow in their appreciation for the landscape and its significant history first as a plantation, then as a short-lived city park and finally as a place where some of the highest-ranking members of the Navy lived during their time in our community.

We don’t have all the answers on how to make that happen, but we are confident that the more the city engages the public — and incorporates that feedback — the better the outcome will be.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.

More to winning RiverDogs than zaniness, food and Bill Murray

A quick switch of navy blue and gold clothing tells the story of unprecedented glory. One beaming Charleston RiverDogs fan who showed up at Riley Park in his 2021 championship T-shirt was quick to cover it up with a free 2022 Carolina League playoff shirt handed out at the front gate.Say it is so at The Joe: Charleston, ...

A quick switch of navy blue and gold clothing tells the story of unprecedented glory. One beaming Charleston RiverDogs fan who showed up at Riley Park in his 2021 championship T-shirt was quick to cover it up with a free 2022 Carolina League playoff shirt handed out at the front gate.

Say it is so at The Joe: Charleston, after 99 years without a league championship from 1922 to 2021, is suddenly minor league baseball royalty.

“It’s tremendous for the RiverDogs,” team co-owner Jeff Goldklang said while standing amid the warm playoff thrill at Riley Park. “It’s tremendous for the city of Charleston.”

The franchise formerly famed for signature concession stand fare, ballpark appearances by Director of Fun Bill Murray and promotions such as Nobody Night (no fans allowed until the fifth inning) and Go Back To Ohio Night (free one-way ticket to Cleveland) are respected by their rivals as …

Well, yes, believe it or not.

A powerhouse.

Charleston has had a minor league baseball team most years since 1886, and the low-level Class A variety steadily since 1980. But those teams hadn’t won a playoff series in back-to-back seasons until Sept. 15.

That’s when the RiverDogs completed a two-game sweep of Myrtle Beach to earn a spot in the best-of-three Carolina League Championship Series against the Lynchburg Hillcats, which started Sept. 18 and continues Sept. 20.

RiverDogs management is shedding the long-held, industry-wide belief that winning doesn’t matter in minor league baseball, that marketing at this level is almost only about the ballpark experience.

On-field success, it turns out, sells.

Worried about attendance after COVID-19 led to cancellation of the 2020 minor league season and influenced 2021 restrictions, the RiverDogs were pleased to finish second in the 12-team league in 2021 home attendance (208,641) behind the Augusta GreenJackets (211,561), an Atlanta Braves farm club.

This year, regular-season home attendance was up to 251,491. That is still well below the pre-pandemic total of 301,320 in 2019, but third in the Carolina League behind Augusta (262,172) and Fredericksburg (260,546).

Or, where would the RiverDogs be without the recent winning teams?

“Good, quality, continuous winning baseball is certainly helpful,” Goldklang said. “It’s helped us from our season ticket sales standpoint, it’s helped us with sponsors. It’s great to know the product on the field is going to be spectacular when we’re out there marketing before the season, or even during the season.”

Rays are ‘one step ahead’

Charleston teams have had some catchy nicknames over the decades. Seagulls, Palmettos, Pals, Rebels, Pirates and Rainbows, among others.

Budding stars such as Hall of Famers Kiki Cuyler and Roberto Alomar, plus David Cone, Willie Randolph, Josh Hamilton and Aaron Judge have played in Charleston.

Then came this two-year run of Tampa Bay Rays prospects, including 60 different players on the constantly changing 2022 roster. The manager is 30-year-old Blake Butera, in his second season with the RiverDogs.

“It is a credit to the players and staff who are putting in the work day in and day out to push each other and stay one step ahead of the competition,” said Jeff McLerran, the Rays’ Director of Minor League Operations.

The Goldklang ownership group is led by Jeff’s father Marvin Goldklang, who bought the Charleston franchise in 1989. That was just before Hurricane Hugo smashed up College Park, the team’s former home. The owners after the 2019 season made the difficult but astute decision to switch RiverDogs affiliations from the New York Yankees to the Rays.

The Yankees are one the most popular teams in sports, and Marvin Goldklang has long had a minority interest in the major league club. The Yankees from 2005 to 2020 provided Charleston with mostly good teams and some high-profile prospects.

But the Rays got to be baseball’s most overachieving small-market team with innovative scouting, player development and analytics strategy on display daily throughout one of the most-respected farm systems.

Not coincidentally, Tampa Bay’s minor league teams win a lot.

“I do think they put an emphasis on winning as a positive component of development,” said J.J. Cooper, executive editor of Baseball America. “They want to win, and they have been very successful at stressing winning.”

Bill Murray, taco pie

Honolulu’s Shane Sasaki is looking for poke bowl restaurants and stealing bases (47 during the regular season), but the left fielder has big-league potential.

So does 19-year-old, slick-fielding shortstop Carson Williams. The San Diego native was Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2021.

Dominican Republic natives Junior Caminero and Willy Vasquez have been hot postseason hitters.

Meanwhile, the RiverDogs’ “Fun is Good” mantra created by former co-owner Mike Veeck lives on within a widely admired business model.

The ballpark food is still unusually diverse, from seafood burgers and taco pie to Mexican street po’ boys.

That is thanks to vice president of food and beverage Josh Shea, who is quite willing to share his menu with winning baseball.

“Absolutely, without a doubt, it enhances both the food scene and in-game promotions,” Shea said. “We could not be more thrilled with how the team is currently doing and cannot wait to get started on next year’s crazy fun food ideas.”

The immensely popular Murray has been a playoff plus.

He doesn’t just crash Charleston wedding photo shoots or surprise customers in Starbucks lines in Mount Pleasant. He gave the 2021 RiverDogs (and fans) a championship series pep talk on the Riley Park video board from a bull ring in Spain.

Murray threw out the first pitch before the Sept. 13 playoff opener against Myrtle Beach.

Just as some RiverDogs fans were replacing their year-old playoff T-shirts with new ones.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

Winning RiverDogs

1922: Charleston Pals win South Atlantic League championship

1923-2020: No minor league titles for Charleston teams

2021: Charleston RiverDogs, a Tampa Bay Rays’ affiliate, win Low-A East Championship Series

2022: RiverDogs, with a new cast of players, make best-of-three Carolina League Championship Series (Game 1 on Sept. 18 vs. Lynchburg; Game 2 on Sept. 20 at Lynchburg; Game 3, if necessary, Sept. 21 at Lynchburg)


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