Red Sox Triple-A Affiliate Moving to a New Home
The Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox will be relocating from Rhode Island to Massachusetts beginning in 2021. This is a move that has divided fans of the franchise and it remains to be seen how well it’ll be received when it actually happens.
For those who are against this move, they cite history, as often is the case with any change in baseball. The team, affectionately known as the PawSox was introduced into the small Rhode Island town of Pawtucket along with its polar bear logo (more on that in a moment) in 1970. Many well-known Boston Red Sox stars played in Pawtucket; Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, Mo Vaughn, Carlton Fisk, Mookie Betts, Nomar Garciaparra, Roger Clemens and more donned the PawSox colors. The PawSox also won the longest professional baseball game in history, a 33-inning affair against the Rochester Red Wings (currently the farm club of the Minnesota Twins but was at the time a part of the Baltimore Orioles organization) that began on April 18, 1981 until play was suspended at 4:07 a.m. in the 32nd inning. The game resumed on June 23rd when the Red Wings returned to town to finish the game, needing only a single inning to wrap up the game they started two months prior. First baseman Dave Koza singled with the bases loaded off of Red Wings pitcher Cliff Speck to drive in the second baseman Marty Barrett to clinch the victory. The game also featured two future Hall of Famers- Cal Ripken, Jr. and Wade Boggs.
So there’s no questioning the fact that the PawSox have a rich history but that’s the past. I’m a huge proponent of the team moving to Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester has its own baseball history as well that not many people are aware of. Ted Williams hit his first home run in an exhibition game at the College of the Holy Cross, and the first perfect game in professional baseball history happened there as Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs did so on June 12, 1880 (the second perfect game was pitched only five days later). Also, there will be no need to change the mascot for the team. As I mentioned, the PawSox mascot is a polar bear named Paws. In Worcester, the Sox will play at Polar Park and will be sponsored by the Polar soda company whose mascot is also a polar bear. One of the biggest changes will be the renovation of an area of Worcester known as Kelly Square. Anyone who has ever had to drive through that area knows what a nightmare it can be. Even folks with no interest in baseball or the Red Sox are pleased with the fact that this intersection is going to be changed as a result of the stadium location.
I recently did an informal poll on Facebook and 75% were in favor of the move, although not everyone was as enthusiastic about the proposed nickname of “WooSox” instead of PawSox. Personally, I am a fan because this isn’t too far from where I live and I love going to baseball games. PawSox games were relatively inexpensive, especially compared to prices for games and concessions at Fenway Park. I understand that not everyone likes this idea because it will increase traffic in the heart of Worcester-which can already be pretty chaotic. I also get that many people are respectful of the history of the team, as I am too. But Worcester is my hometown and I think it will be amazing to have the team there. Unlike Pawtucket, Worcester is actually a fairly large city. Aside from Boston, it’s the largest city in New England – bigger than Hartford or Providence. I think it will be a positive change for Worcester as well as the franchise. I believe that attendance will increase and the increased activity due to the team being there will also add a significant amount of jobs.
I’m a huge fan of this move, and I cannot wait until 2021 when I’m able to go to a professional baseball game in my hometown.