As they eye a long-term ballpark plan, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) will begin a structural study on McCoy Stadium. The purpose of the stadium will be to determine its viability, as the PawSox’s lease expires after the 2020 season and the team has expressed desire for a new facility.
Last year, there was an aggressive push by the team’s new ownership group to move the franchise into a new ballpark in downtown Providence. Once it became clear that the proposal would not move forward, all indications pointed to the PawSox taking their time in mapping out a new facility, with all options on the table.
The study—which will determine the structural integrity of McCoy Stadium—is evidence that the team is will not rush into its next decision. More from What’s Up Newport:
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien “and Larry Luchino (the Pawtucket Red Sox chairman) understand the number one fundamental is that we need to work together with the state of Rhode Island to do a good study of this ballpark,” [team president Dr. Charles] Steinberg said. “One that everybody– the city, the state, the Pawsox can agree on. “Let’s go and conduct that study and see what we have,” he said. “Check out the bones. Do the proverbial x-rays on this ballpark that was built in 1942. See its status and see what needs to happen. You have to know your physical plant.
“That level of cooperation as they embark on a study jointly reflects a spirit of cooperation and will lead us to clues as far as what the future holds for the ballpark.”
The study, Steinberg said, has not begun, but he anticipates its completion within a year.
McCoy Stadium is the oldest ballpark in the International League. Second oldest is Scranton Wilkes Barre, built in 1989, 47 years after McCoy was completed. The only AAA ball park that is older is Vaqueros Laguna, of the Mexican League. That stadium was built in 1932.
McCoy Stadium’s age difference compared to the rest of the league is striking, especially given that PNC Field in Scranton/Wilkes Barre was extensively renovated in 2013. Pawtucket did undertake a renovation back in 1999, but it remains to be seen if it left the facility with enough room to improve.
As long as the team is in Pawtucket, the PawSox leadership says it will focus on renewing fan interest. Even before the discussion on the Providence proposal began, the team had experienced a decline in attendance over several seasons, something that current ownership wants to reverse as it builds toward its next decision.