The Pawtucket Red Sox, or commonly known by their fans as the “Paw Sox” and the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, will start a new chapter in April 2021 by moving to Worcester.
Worcester will build Polar Park in the Green Island neighborhood of the downtown area. The park will cost approximately $101 million, making it the fourth most expensive minor league ballpark ever built.
“Our ballpark will be distinct … It should have Worcester tastes and sounds. Some touches might be evocative of Fenway Park, but it will also have its own special features that will make it its own ballpark,” said Dan Rea III, general manager of the PawSox, who has led the relocation process.
Larry Lucchino wanted to relocate since he took office as president in 2015. The PawSox looked to stay in Rhode Island with attempts to move to downtown Providence as well as the historic site of Slater Mill in Pawtucket, but political forces prevented these opportunities.
“There’s an expression that it takes two to tango, and unfortunately we didn’t get the cooperation from state officials despite the efforts from our Pawtucket mayor,” Rea said in a telephone interview.
Rea hopes to keep the team’s history of four league championships in Pawtucket while embracing the culture and passion of Worcester.
“We aren’t moving to San Diego or across the country, just 45 minutes up Route 146,” Rea said. “We can establish a new presence, but we want to still draw people from Rhode Island and throughout New England.”
After the relocation announcement on August 17, 2018, there was a buzz throughout Worcester. Rea has listened to ways of connecting Worcester and Pawtucket directly to create a stronger overall fan base. Longtime fans have suggested the establishment of a bus route from Pawtucket to Worcester for a couple of seasons to give them time to explore the new park.
“Many fans from Worcester already come to Pawtucket, so these fans from Northern Rhode Island can, should and hopefully will come to Worcester to be a part of the experience,” Rea said.
The team has already started to be an active and visible presence in the community. Rea recognizes that, because of the notable excitement of the team coming to Worcester, the organization has to reflect that same energy.
The team will look to grow their relationship with the Boston Red Sox. Although the distance from Pawtucket and Worcester to Boston is nearly identical, the move to Massachusetts will allow players to be sent to the big leagues quickly.
A new nickname for the team is still up in the air. Officially, it will be called the Worcester Red Sox. However, many have begun to call the team the “Woo Sox.” The team has filed trademarks with teams of Worcester’s past, including the Worcesters, Ruby Legs, and Wicked Worms.
“Having the official business name of Worcester Red Sox is really important to have a connection to the Boston Red Sox,” Rea said. “But, having some way of celebrating our past and present is also really important.”