By Brian Willerth
So, it’s official: there will be no Minor League Baseball this summer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It’s a tremendous loss, not just for the teams, but for families who say it’s an affordable way to spend a night out.
But there’s more to this cancelation for one team in New England: it also means the end of the Pawtucket Red Sox. The team will be playing games next season in Worcester.
The PawSox are celebrating their 50th anniversary this summer. It will be marked by the season that never happened. Fans won’t even get the chance to take in one last home game. Can you just picture what the final regular-season home game would’ve looked like?
I’ve been to several minor league stadiums over the years, and McCoy Stadium was always at the top of my list.
The tickets, both at McCoy Stadium and other places, were (and have been) cheap. And so is the food, along with the parking, which is usually free.
You could go down to McCoy Stadium and spend less than $20 on everything. And there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
I remember going to games on Saturday nights for a ballgame and fireworks, spending Sunday afternoons in the sun, and even the occasional weekday 12:05 first pitch.
I hadn’t been there in several years due to changes in my work schedule, but what made McCoy Stadium special to me, was that the gameday experience was about the game. That was the focus. You knew when you watched players play, you knew they were busting their butts, hoping to make it to the majors. And yes, you can say that at every minor league ballpark, but the atmosphere at McCoy just felt special to me.
I wish Worcester good luck when the AAA affiliate moves there officially next season, and hopefully, they will be able to play next year. But to me, they will always be the PawSox. And I will miss McCoy stadium, still, home to the longest baseball game ever played.