Polar Park welcomes limited fans for stadium ‘test run’ ahead of WooSox home opener

WORCESTER — For the first time ever, a small group of fans were welcomed into Worcester’s newly constructed baseball stadium on Saturday to catch a game.

While they were only college teams taking the field, the game at Polar Park served as an important trial-run ahead of the Worcester Red Sox sold-out home opener against the Syracuse Mets on Tuesday.

“Because of COVID, we haven’t been able to do the type of in-person training that we normally would, so this is really their first time getting to know the facility themselves,” said Bart Harvey, vice president of ballpark operations for the Worcester Red Sox. “We didn’t want that to be Tuesday, so this has just been a great day for us.”

According to Harvey, operations staff used the game to test out score boards, concession stands, test the WIFI network and even monitor security gates.

“It’s really important for me to see how people are going to interact, because when you go through the design and construction process, typically it’s in a vacuum. But now we finally get to see how people are reacting with our facility,” he said.

Janet Marie Smith, a design advisor for the Worcester Red Sox told Boston 25 News that training staff was a crucial part of the test-run.

“As much as anything, it was a chance for our staff to learn how to operate things, and we’ve learned a lot today. We’ve learned how to works things we didn’t even know how to turn on yesterday,” she said.

Smith added there will always be more work to do.

“We know we aren’t going to have everything [done] and the pandemic has really made construction challenging, so it’ll be a rolling set of openings, and the first of them will be the most fun.”

Polar Park will open on Tuesday at 25% capacity, seating more than 2,300 people.

Former Red Sox CEO and current owner of the Worcester Red Sox, Larry Lucchino, also made the rounds on Saturday to speak with people in attendance.

“Fans who were here today have been quite complimentary about the ballpark,” he said.  “Jan Marie Smith and I have been walking around trying to find how well the ballpark reacts to people being in it.”

Tuesday’s WooSox game against Syracuse begins at 3:05 p.m.

For more information about the Worcester Red Sox ticketing and season schedule, click here.

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