Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) chairman Larry Lucchino visited Worcester, MA on Tuesday, but did not give any hints as to whether the team will relocate there.
Speculation continues on the future of the PawSox, who have a decision to make on their long-term plans for replacing McCoy Stadium. Legislation that provides financing for a new downtown Pawtucket ballpark was signed by Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo in June, but that does not assure that the facility will become a reality. The PawSox have not committed to remaining in Pawtucket, and have been ironing out the details of the proposal. Meanwhile, Worcester is viewed as a potential landing spot for the club if it moves on from Pawtucket, though many details of a potential new ballpark in the city are still not known publicly.
Lucchino was in Worcester on Tuesday, when he visited a proposed ballpark site in the city’s Canal District. While he did speak with the media during his trip, Lucchino was noncommittal about the team’s future, and a statement from the PawSox noted he that made a similar visit to the proposed Pawtucket ballpark site on Monday. More from Worcester Magazine:
In a statement released late [Tuesday] afternoon, the PawSox acknowledged Lucchino met with city officials in Worcester and visited the proposed site of a new ballpark in the Canal District. [Monday], the team said, Lucchino and other club representatives met with Pawtucket city officials at Slater Mill, where that city has proposed building a new ballpark to replace McCoy Stadium.
“Both visits,” the statement read, “are part of the club’s ongoing due diligence efforts.”
Publicly, no one from City Manager Ed Augustus Jr.’s administration or the PawSox have revealed much in the way of information, and Lucchino was having none of that talk Tuesday. He did, however, acknowledge, it’s not just Worcester courting the PawSox as they appear poised to leave Pawtucket when their lease expires in 2020.
“This is an important decision for us and for the cities that are still involved in this process with us,” Lucchino said.
Asked to repeat whether other communities are still involved, Lucchino said, “That answer to that is yes, but we’re not going to talk about any of that.”
As part of the Pawtucket proposal, a new ballpark would be constructed on the site of an Apex department store. It would call on the PawSox to make a $45 million contribution, with the state paying $26 million and the city allocating $18 million. In addition, the team would pay $12 million after approval of the plan. However, the legislation approved by Rhode Island officials left open several uncertainties, as it withdrew state backing of the bonds and instead put it on the back of bondholders, which is likely to result in higher borrowing rates.
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