A report from Worcester brings this unsurprising news: Members of the Worcester City Council want to study whether the city can lure the Pawtucket Red Sox to the central Massachusetts city.
Two city council members in Worcester have requested that the city work with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and other groups to try to get the PawSox to move to Worcester. The plan is scheduled to be debated at a council meeting tomorrow evening, according to a report from MassLive.com
``I think there is opportunity there,’’ said Council member Philip Palmieri. ``Worcester is the second largest city (in New England), we are here and we should start acting that way.’’
It isn’t the first time Worcester has tried to lure the PawSox, the Boston Red Sox top minor league team, from Rhode Island. In the mid-1990s, the city, with support from then-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, offered to build a $40 million stadium to bring the PawSox from McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket to a new ballpark in Worcester.
At the time, Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley had more clout in Rhode Island government than nowadays. The House Speaker, John Harwood, was from Pawtucket, as well as the House Finance Chairman, Antonio Pires. The governor was Lincoln Almond of Lincoln, who was a neighbor of Ben Mondor, the late PawSox owner.
Almond and Harwood crafted a deal that financed renovations at McCoy Stadium with about $12 million in state-backed bonds. Mondor put in about $4 million of his own money. Now, a group of Rhode Island business leaders and Boston Red Sox partners have bought the PawSox and have proposed moving the team from McCoy to a new stadium to be built on the Providence downtown waterfront.
An serious entreaty from Worcester would likely increase pressure on Rhode Island politicians to keep the team in Rhode Island.