Worcester possibility is real for PawSoxMassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.
December 20. 2017 12:03AM
Rhode Island is in jeopardy of losing the Pawtucket Red Sox, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said Tuesday, begging state officials to vote on keeping the ballpark in the state rather than risk losing it to Worcester.
Grebien said during a news conference that there is a deal on the table in Worcester to bring the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox into the second-largest city in Massachusetts.
“The Worcester, Mass., deal is real and make no mistake about it,” Grebien said, according to a live steam of the news conference by Worcester Magazine.
Since the Rhode Island government failed over the summer to create a deal for a new PawSox stadium, Worcester and other cities have been vying to attract the team.
“The city of Worcester and the state of Massachusetts understand what has been so hard for us to break through to the General Assembly,” Grebien said, adding that he has heard rumors that the Worcester deal is better for the PawSox compared to a proposal for a new stadium at Slater Mill.
He urged the General Assembly to vote in early January and keep the team — as well as additional new development and revenue that it would bring — in Rhode Island.
“All of this will now go to Worcester, Massachusetts, if the General Assembly does not act,” he said.
Worcester officials have been tight-lipped about the potential deal.
Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus through a spokesman declined to respond specifically to Grebien’s claim that there is a deal on the table from Worcester.
“We continue to have regular conversations with the PawSox and we did have another meeting with the team last week. We look forward to continuing those conversations and seeing where they lead,” Augustus said in a statement.
Grebien called out hesitant members of the General Assembly for not supporting Pawtucket.
“What we nearly have reached is doomsday, when the team will be pushed out to another state, costing our residents one of the last few affordable, friendly entertainment options they have,” he said. “Rather than making the choice to give millions of dollars to Massachusetts, I respectfully ask the General Assembly to give those millions to Pawtucket.”
Grebien even offered to take the state’s $23 million share of the PawSox deal, asking that if that becomes the case, the state give Pawtucket tax revenue it would have earned from the team.
PawSox officials have visited Worcester many times since the summer, including a meeting at City Hall last week.
A potential ballpark could be located in the city’s growing Canal District.
Gov. Charlie Baker has said that Worcester and other cities in Massachusetts have state support in their efforts to obtain the PawSox.