With reports linking the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) to their home city, the Worcester Bravehearts (summer collegiate; Futures Collegiate Baseball League) are weighing in on the situation.
Now that the PawSox are reportedly ready to consider pitches on new ballparks from other cities, Worcester is seen as a possible alternative if the franchise’s proposal in Pawtucket does not gain support. Worcester is the second largest city in Massachusetts behind Boston, but it has been without professional baseball since the Worcester Tornadoes (independent; Can-Am League) played their final season in 2012.
In 2014, The Bravehearts stepped in to fill the void at Fitton Field. Since their establishment, the Bravehearts have received solid fan support–last year they topped the league in both per-game (2,230) and overall (62,434) attendance.
The possibility of the PawSox and a new Class AAA ballpark in Worcester, however, is now something that is being reported. In a story that also includes reaction from Braveheart fans, the Telegram & Gazette received some insight from team owner John W.S. Creedon Jr. Creedon declined to say how the PawSox could affect the Bravehearts, but said that he hopes any ballpark proposal will be considered carefully:
“Anything can happen,” Mr. Creedon said when pressed on whether he thought a deal could get done. He politely declined to talk about what impact the PawSox could have on his operation, but said he’s confident city administrators would thoroughly vet any proposal before making a decision.
In Rhode Island, the PawSox are seeking $15 million from the city and $23 million from the state to build a new ballpark. Legislators have yet to authorize the funding despite public warnings from the team it would begin to look elsewhere in July; the governor has recently thrown support behind an alternative proposal, however, which the Legislature could take up in the fall.
Mr. Creedon, noting his operation has cost the city nothing, cautioned that the “pretty penny” Worcester taxpayers would likely have to fork over to get the PawSox isn’t guaranteed to be returned.
“It’s not a silver bullet for economic development,” Mr. Creedon said. “For every success story, there are also tales of woe.”
What happens in the PawSox’s ballpark effort remains to be seen, though we have been reporting recently that Worcester is one of the communities that could be in the mix if the effort to obtain a new ballpark in Rhode Island falls short. The PawSox are looking for a new ballpark to replace the 75-year-old McCoy Stadium, where they have a lease through the 2020 season.