MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The minor league baseball team of the Grand Strand is kicking off its 19th year at the beach. Thursday is opening day at TicketReturn.com Field for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The franchise began in Myrtle Beach in 1999.
This year's opener is special because the Pelicans are taking on their rival, the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Pelicans beat the Hillcats to win the Mills Cup Championship last season. Senior marketing director for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Kristen Call, said the Pelicans are two-time defending league champions.
This year, Call said, the organization is looking forward to a good weather forecast for the entire weekend, and also plans to profit from the spring breakers in town.
Thursday night, the crowd can enjoy 'Thirsty Thursday,' military discounts, a pre-grame autograph session from 5:45 to 6 p.m. with the players, and post-game "run the bases" for kids and fireworks.
The Pelicans are also giving people a new reason to come to the ballpark on Fridays.
"We've also got Foodie Fridays, that's a brand new promotion for us. Every Friday we're going to have a different food special. We have a brand new 'Bucket Bar' that's opening this Friday right above the left field line, and that's where your foodie specials are going to take place. So every week you can get a different food special, and this week is going to be an oyster roast," Call said.
Call said other Fridays will feature wings, deep dish pizza and taco night. You can take part in 'Foodie Friday' at the stadium's new Bucket Bar near left field from 6:30 to 8:30.
Saturday night will focus on Horry County's Special Olympic team. Those athletes will be honored, and Pelicans players will wear jerseys specially designed by an Horry County Special Olympian. If you like them, you can buy one. Call said there will be a silent auction going on during Saturday's game in the concourse. If you win, you can come on to the field after the game, and the player wearing the jersey will give it to you.
To see what a World Series Championship ring looks like, head to TicketReturn.com field Sunday for the Pelicans game, and also to watch the team coaches and ownership receive Cubs World Series Championship rings. As a Chicago Cubs affiliate, the Pelicans will keep a ring on display at the stadium. The public can pose for pictures with it Sunday. Call said the win seemed a little like fate.
"Opening weekend we're opening up against the Lynchburg Hillcats, which we defeated last year for the Mills Cup Championship...and we joked a little bit that it was somewhat foreshadowing of the World Series when it all finally shook out because we're the Cubs affiliate, and they're the Indians affiliate. We ended up winning, the Cubs ended up beating the Indians for the World Series. So it's amazing all the little connections you see throughout the year and throughout the sport," Call said.
To celebrate Easter, the Pelicans will also host a 'candy drop' Sunday. Call said a helicopter will fly in after the game and drop thousands of pieces of candy for kids to grab.
For the full rundown of events, click here.