The City of Worcester is keeping mostly quiet about whether it has struck a deal to lure the Pawtucket Red Sox out of Rhode Island.
Eugene Zabinski is a Worcester resident who's feeling optimistic that the minor league team could relocate to his city in 2021. Zabinski is president of the Canal District Alliance in South Worcester. He's been instrumental in lobbying Paw Sox team management to relocate to Worcester.
He and alliance members sent 10,000 postcards signed by residents to Paw Sox team management, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karen Polito to demonstrate how serious the city is about welcoming the team. "By having a minor league baseball team here, it brings us a little closer to having a more active part to Red Sox Nation," he explained. Building a stadium at the vacant Wyman-Gordon site would enhance Worcester's economic development plan that is already underway, he added.
“It’s a home-run," he Zabinski. "We decided it's an opportunity, we reached out and it looks like it might happen."
The Worcester City Manager's office says they don't have an announcement to make just yet, but there are new developments suggesting that the Paw Sox could be coming to Worcester.
Mike Vigneux, spokesman for Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus, confirms that the city paid consultants $178,000 for 330 hours of work promoting the city to the team. "The city continues to do everything we can to make it a reality for Worcester," Vigneux said.
There are other signs the move may be coming. On July 26, an attorney for Minor League Baseball confirmed he filed three "Woo Sox” trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. There is also now an unofficial twitter account that was created with the name "Worcester Red Sox" and a twitter handle of @woosox. Te Canal District Alliance continues to publicly tout its location as an ideal home.
However, Pawtucket and Rhode Island officials are continuing their fight to keep the Paw Sox in their city.
On June 22, Rhode Island's General Assembly passed a bill that would finance an $83-million dollar brand new minor-league ballpark. Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the legislation, which was spear-headed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, and ended more than three years of legislative debate on whether public funds should be used to invest in a new stadium.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has also been working for months to convince the Paw Sox to stay. He says keeping the Paw Sox in Pawtucket is a key element to its economic development plan.
Yet, Paw Sox Chairman Larry Lucchino was spotted yesterday touring the Canal District.
Paw Sox management issued a statement yesterday saying premature speculation is understandable, and they hope to have a final decision within the next few weeks, if not sooner.