While the impending arrival of Triple-A baseball in nearby Worcester, MA could pose new challenges for the Lowell Spinners (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), owner Dave Heller is emphasizing the team’s commitment to the market.
The Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) are set to relocate after the 2020 season to Worcester, opening a new ballpark in 2021 that is expected to anchor a larger redevelopment initiative. When that move goes into effect, it will put a new Triple-A team and ballpark less than 40 miles from the Spinners, who have received solid fan support at LeLacheur Park since its 1998 opening. The impending arrival of Triple-A baseball in Worcester has raised some questions about how it will affect the Spinners long-term, as has speculation about the possibility of a New York-Penn League team replacing the PawSox in Pawtucket.
In light of those questions, Heller is emphasizing that the Spinners remain thoroughly committed to Lowell. Not only is he noting the potential for a bright future economically for the area, but the plans that the Spinners will push to broaden their fan base, even as Triple-A baseball takes root in a nearby city. More from the Boston Globe:
“There’s a lot of excitement and dynamism here,” said Heller, who serves on the board of the Lowell Plan, a private nonprofit. “There’s a real sense that things are about to take off.” He cites the smart-growth plan for Lowell’s Hamilton Canal area, the launch of an ambitious project to build a new high school, and the forthcoming completion of the new Lowell Judicial Center.
“It’s a chance for the whole city to reinvent itself,” said Heller….
Heller is proud to represent Lowell. He restored the “L” to the team’s caps, and he’s pushing a new nickname, the “MillSox,” based on the city’s industrial history. But he knows he’ll need to cast a net bigger than Lowell proper to compete for fans when the Worcester Red Sox take the field in 2021.
“Our challenge is to broaden the team’s appeal, to make it more of a Merrimack Valley team than a Lowell team,” he said.
Heller completed his purchase of the Spinners from Drew Weber in 2016, and has since made several moves to bolster the franchise’s long-term future in Lowell. That includes a 10-year lease extension for LeLacheur Park, along with several ballpark upgrades.