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Pawtucket, State Officials Closing in on McCoy Stadium Decision

McCoy Stadium

Pawtucket and Rhode Island officials could soon make a decision on the future of McCoy Stadium, current home of the soon-to-relocate Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League). 

Next season will be the PawSox’s last at McCoy Stadium, as the team is proceeding with plans to relocate and open a new Worcester, MA ballpark in 2021. In order to consider ideas for the future of the aging McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket and state officials launched a request for proposals (RFP) earlier this year. The RFP ultimately drew six responses, including two that call for leaving the ballpark open for professional baseball. Current PawSox minority owner/vice chairman Mike Tamburro is part of a group seeking to keep affiliated Minor League Baseball at McCoy Stadium, while a bid led by Frank Boulton calls for placing an independent Atlantic League team at the facility.

No decisions have been made yet about what bid will move forward, but that could change soon. Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has indicated that the process is moving along, and that a decision could be announced in the near future. More from the Valley Breeze:

Officials have not indicated whether any of the proposals have been eliminated. Also not clear is whether they’ll be able to select one or two proposals, as there are separate proposals for both McCoy and the downtown area.

“We thank CommerceRI for their partnership as we reach the final stages of the process,” Grebien said. “We are at a critical point in the evaluation and hope to share information on a final decision soon.”

Grebien said the city is confident that the decision made will ultimately bring about transformative developments that will benefit Pawtucket for years to come.

“Pawtucket is a desirable location for development, and there is a lot of interest from investors, especially in our five federally designated opportunity zones,” he said.

When considering the prospects of an affiliated MiLB team playing at McCoy Stadium after the PawSox’s departure, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Given baseball’s territorial rules, there’s only one ownership group with rights to Pawtucket, and that’s the current PawSox group. The likeliest scenario has the PawSox owners involved at some level with another team at McCoy Stadium–say, one of the two Short Season A NY-Penn League teams for sale with a short-term lease–after the PawSox move to Worcester. Management of the Lowell Spinners (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), a Boston Red Sox affiliate, has been adamant about not seeking a move to Pawtucket and has emphasized its commitment to Lowell.

Should professional baseball in any form continue at McCoy Stadium, there will likely be consideration of how to best modify the facility. That would likely include discussions as to how best address repairs at the aging facility–which originally opened in 1942, and underwent its last major renovation in 1999–and what can be done to alter it for a lower level of play.

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