Back in October, ThisWeekinWorcester.com reported that the City of Worcester and the Pawtucket Red Sox ownership group were in serious discussions to move the the Red Sox’ AAA-affiliate to Worcester’s Canal District.
Since then — for those paying attention at home — there haven’t been any solid reports indicating how negotiations have progressed, but hints have been dropped by the highest seats in both our city and state government that the PawSox move to Worcester is, if not inevitable, a near-certainty.
Taking these remarks individually, they could easily be interpreted as lofty considerations for a successful negotiation to bring the PawSox to Worcester. But taken collectively, we believe that there’s something more to them.
Especially since a source close to the City Manager’s office told TWIW back in September that the PawSox to Worcester was “pretty much a done deal.”
According to that source, as we reported in October, the City of Worcester and the Pawtucket Red Sox ownership group are working on an agreement to construct a $72 million baseball stadium on a lot owned by Wyman-Gordon off of Madison St. in Worcester.
Additionally, early estimates, according to a source, are the state of Massachusetts and the City of Worcester will be responsible for 72 percent of the cost of constructing the stadium [nearly $52 million].
When the City announced the arrival of the National Arena League football team Massachusetts Pirates to the DCU Center, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr., addressing those in attendance, made an off-the-cuff comment that the city hopes that the announcement of the Pirates wouldn’t be the last major announcement in the coming weeks.
Last week, in a speech to members of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said that the state is ready to support a move of the PawSox to Worcester.
Finally, at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, in his support of a higher residential tax rate, Mayor Joseph M. Petty stated that the construction of a new baseball stadium is a potential “big ticket item” coming down the road for the City and listed it as a “future expenditure” along with the construction of both South and Doherty Memorial high schools.
All these remarks considered, the most obvious indicator of the PawSox’s future move to Worcester is a recent report from the Providence Journal that indicates the construction of a new stadium in Pawtucket will heavily rely on a “hoped-for surge in fan attendance.”
It’s in our opinion that — for at least the first several years — attendance wouldn’t be an issue if the PawSox move to Worcester. Look no further than the year-to-year attendance awards set by the popular Collegiate League’s Worcester Bravehearts. Those attendance numbers should translate well with a PawSox move to Worcester due to a new stadium and the affiliation with the Boston Red Sox.
While we wait patiently for Augustus’ announcement that the Worcester Red Sox will start play in 2020, we will continue to pay attention for hints dropped for what’s inevitably to come.
If, in the minimal chance, that we are wrong, we will certainly admit it right away.
But we won’t be wrong. The Worcester Red Sox are coming.