WORCESTER, Mass. — The City of Worcester isn't commenting but several reports say a major announcement is expected at 2 p.m. Friday on the Pawtucket Red Sox building a new stadium there.
At an event Friday morning, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner confirmed the move to Massachusetts.
"Larry [Lucchino] felt that this was a good thing for his franchise ... to move it to Worcester," Werner told Boston 25 News. "Obviously for every child who is disappointed today -- and I sympathize with their disappointment, we have a long history and relationship with the PawSox in Rhode Island -- but there's also going to be a child in Worcester who's going to have a nice night tonight."
The PawSox have played in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for nearly half a century, but the push for a new stadium to replace the aging McCoy Stadium has been lengthy and heated. The lease for the stadium expires in 2020.
Last year, PawSox executives announced they’d start negotiating with other cities after Rhode Island lawmakers failed to approve a new stadium deal. In June, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed a bill that would finance a new $83 million ballpark in Pawtucket, but PawSox owners didn't say whether they'd take it.
As recently as yesterday, Pawtucket city officials told The Providence Journal they were still talking with team officials to make the Pawtucket deal happen.
Boston 25 News reached out to PawSox vice president/General Manager Dan Rea III. He told us he didn’t have a comment Friday morning.
"It's a great thing for the city of Worcester," Werner said.
The Worcester Telegram is reporting the new stadium would likely be built on a 5-acre spot in the Canal District, between Madison and Green Streets. Any deal would also require City Council approval and likely public hearings.
Earlier this month Minor League Baseball filed three trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the 'WooSox.'
Reaction from Minor League Red Sox fans was split, of course, by geography.
"I think its awesome and I think we need it. The kids are going to enjoy it," Kelly Flury, of Worcester said.
For many PawSox fans, the potential move provokes a strong reaction. “I would hate to see it," said Dan Pickar, a loyal PawSox fan, "I love the PawSox I’ve always come to McCoy and I’d really be bummed if they left.”
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