The AAA Sox Stadium Thread: Where Ever They May Roam

Brohamer of the Gods

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Milking the Paw Sox promos as long as we can - today my six year old got to ride around the warning track with Paws and then deliver the game ball to the mound.

In a related story, his grandfather grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan.FB_IMG_1535997229775.jpg
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Does that come in a Mattiello version? It is fantastic that a guy who got 3,500 votes has so much power.
Seemingly because he SOMEHOW keeps the D next to his name Mattiello keeps getting reelected? Dude, if you have a 100 score from NRA and are pro life, maybe you're a Republican. But he doesn't want to be elected on the merits of his platform, only jumping on the party cottails like a lot of RI politicians. Mattielo's not in my district, but maybe if you win a recount election you shouldn't be speaker?
 

terrynever

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Seemingly because he SOMEHOW keeps the D next to his name Mattiello keeps getting reelected? Dude, if you have a 100 score from NRA and are pro life, maybe you're a Republican. But he doesn't want to be elected on the merits of his platform, only jumping on the party cottails like a lot of RI politicians. Mattielo's not in my district, but maybe if you win a recount election you shouldn't be speaker?
Great post!
 

yeahlunchbox

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Seemingly because he SOMEHOW keeps the D next to his name Mattiello keeps getting reelected? Dude, if you have a 100 score from NRA and are pro life, maybe you're a Republican. But he doesn't want to be elected on the merits of his platform, only jumping on the party cottails like a lot of RI politicians. Mattielo's not in my district, but maybe if you win a recount election you shouldn't be speaker?
You touched on it vaguely, but the reason Mattiello was able to keep the speaker position is because he's a mainstream Rhode Island Democrat. It really is one of the most confounding things about Rhode Island. We almost exclusively elect Democrats to the General Assembly, but most people want those Democrats to behave like Republicans
 

Salem's Lot

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You touched on it vaguely, but the reason Mattiello was able to keep the speaker position is because he's a mainstream Rhode Island Democrat. It really is one of the most confounding things about Rhode Island. We almost exclusively elect Democrats to the General Assembly, but most people want those Democrats to behave like Republicans
It’s the same way in many parts of Massachusetts. They vote democrat because that’s what they’ve always done. Even though if you actually talk to them they sound like Republicans. At least they do to me, probably because I lean slightly left.

So they vote for Democrats out of conservatism. Which I always found ironic.
 

section15

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There is something in there about at least some of the state money going to parking. The stadium alone is $85-90 million.

Of course, the City Council hasn't voted on this yet. I can't imagine it isn't a done deal, but I am sure there will be vocal opposition to this at some point.
What I've been saying all along to people. This is NOT a "done deal" as yet. Every union and other cause in the city is going to complain …. "you are laying off , can't give raises, but have the money to back a ballpark?"

Even though the PawSox/WooSox ownership already sold naming rights to the as yet unbuilt facility. I advise - how many "groundbreaking ceremonies" were there in the 60s-80s for sports facilities in the area that were never built?

I won't believe this move until - not the first shovelful of dirt (anyone can have a groundbreaking), but until first girders are set and the concrete is poured.
 

section15

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Give the dentist credit, he is spending time in the fan center at McCoy talking directly to fans. He spent some time at the booth for the local broadcast. He is going to put all his wizardry into not alienating the RI fans. He said that McCoy is still viable for other levels and lightly insinuated that they may help facilitate that. He did an admirable job not throwing shade on the RI legislature and heaped praise on Grebien. He also threw out that there were many other cities in contact with them.
Also, he can't alienate the RI fans;

1) they buy Boston Red Sox tickets, too
2) they still have at least two more years to run in McCoy
3) they want PawSox fans to occasionally get up to Worcester, if this does happen AND (drum roll)
4) they're going to be stuck in Pawtucket if the Worcester situation falls through and never happens
 

JimD

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AND (drum roll)
4) they're going to be stuck in Pawtucket if the Worcester situation falls through and never happens
I could see another municipality stepping up if Worcester falls through and Pawtucket/R.I. doesn't play nice.
 

JimD

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I believe Springfield is within Hartford's exclusive territory so they would quickly run out of New England markets worth building in, unless the Red Sox waive their rights for a Boston metro site.
I see that now - I see that the territory limit is 35 miles (I thought it was less), and I doubt the Yard Goats would give up those rights even for a big payment after everything they've been through.

Regarding the Red Sox waiving their rights - I could see the team wielding this power to make sure that Rhode Island doesn't hold the PawSox prisoner if the Worcester deal falls through. Having their AAA team in a state-of-the-art stadium should be a much bigger concern than losing a few ticket sales by having an affiliate in the greater Boston area.
 

Brohamer of the Gods

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I see by Google that the Spinners are only 33 miles to Fenway, and that is quickest driving route not direct line so seems like it isn't an issue for Fenway Sports Group. But it is also only 31 miles from Lowell to the Manchester Fishercats, so what the hell do I know? But I really don't see Hartford allowing a Springfield team.
 

section15

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I could see another municipality stepping up if Worcester falls through and Pawtucket/R.I. doesn't play nice.
IIRC, didn't the PawSox announce they were essentially through in Pawtucket when the team changed hands? And then the "House of Cards finance" plan for Providence ended in a no-go; then playing off Pawtucket against Worcester.

If the good people of Worcester agree to back the ballpark financially (with money, not pennant hanging) then that will be it BUT if that collapses, it will be back to square one, and Springfield might not want to do it; will Manchester / Fisher Cats be amenable to a move and stadium upgrade there?

BTW the Manchester ballpark is a GEM. Modest, not fancy, great place.
 
May 9, 2018
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There is an article posted on Deadspin about this, taking the position that government funding of sports stadia is always bad, no matter what. That is certainly the view I have taken before, but I am not so sure with the more recent plans that have a stadium plus other development, rather than a stadium surrounded by huge parking lots. The article cites critics who seem to count as a subsidy any expense borne by the municipality (such as infrastructure improvements), even though those improvements are things that would require that spending eventually anyway (like revamping Kelley Square), but also refuse to count as a "benefit" anything relating to the adjacent development, because that development would likely have happened eventually anyway.

That seems a bit like leaning on the scales to me, but I have not and will not engage in any deep dive study of financial projections. It also seems to disregard that something like the rebuilding of Kelley Square is hugely expensive, requires state funding, likely requires some external factor to actually get that funding, and is sorely needed. Not to mention that the they have trying to give away that land that "would be developed anyway" for at least 20 years, without any success.

It seems to me that the calculus of municipal stadium deals has been changing, largely because of coordinated development of adjacent property. I suppose that introduces all kinds of variables into the modeling and forecasts. The anti-deal models seem to handle these variables by ignoring them. I'm not sure that I trust the developer-created models either, though.

I remain cautiously optimistic that the Worcester thing leans more toward "good deal" than "scam," mostly because the prospect of fixing that intersection and getting the blighted properties nearby up off the mat count in favor.
 

Paradigm

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Obviously bad deal: city agrees to fund the construction of a stadium for a minor league baseball team with no attachment to the community, e.g. town in the midwest funds a stadium and attracts an affiliate from a west coast or east coast MLB team.

Potentially better deal: municipality agrees to fund stadium construction for the top minor league affiliate of the hometown, very popular Major League team.

Look, I'm from Central Mass. If this had been anything other than the Paw Sox I'd be crying foul. A team can not just declare "we want baseball!" and fund a stadium hoping it works out. The minor league team needs to have some kind of attachment to the community, otherwise it's basically like funding a county fair or a zoo – it's a generic attraction for families. Honestly, even if they were funding a stadium to move the Double-A team from Portland to Worcester, I'd be concerned.

But this is really as good as it gets, and I hope it works out.
 

timlinin8th

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Obviously bad deal: city agrees to fund the construction of a stadium for a minor league baseball team with no attachment to the community, e.g. town in the midwest funds a stadium and attracts an affiliate from a west coast or east coast MLB team.

Potentially better deal: municipality agrees to fund stadium construction for the top minor league affiliate of the hometown, very popular Major League team.
Attaching several necessary infrastructure updates to the project also lowers what is needed for this to be a “win” - if it was just a stadium people would be expecting a significant ROI, where the area updates lower that expectation.

That is also why I disagree with the premise of that Deadspin article to a point - there is value in having projects done 10-20 years ahead of the expected timeframe they would happen “if they happened eventually”, both in a financial sense and also from a social standpoint that allowing an area to continue to decay is no good for anybody.
 

StMic

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Governor Raimondo claims they are negotiating with other teams about moving to McCoy.

https://www.wpri.com/sports/pawsox/gov-raimondo-points-fingers-at-house-for-losing-pawsox/1457759023?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=PBN+Morning+Call&utm_campaign=2018_0919_Call#

Do the territorial rights include non AAA teams?

Out of curiosity I checked the Eastern League attendance for 2018 and there are several averaging under 4,000 per game. Not sure how a non-Red Sox affiliate would do.

http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=l_att&lid=113
 

InsideTheParker

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It's a pleasant drive of less than an hour and a half to Worcester. I don't know if I'm a typical fan from WMA, but I would go to games there much sooner than go to Boston to deal with high prices and impossible (to us) traffic. I was excited when I read that Worcester was a possible future location for the PawSox.
 

sittingstill

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Do the territorial rights include non AAA teams?
Yes--any level of affiliated baseball is included.

Chaz Scoggins has an interesting angle; I'm not sure I buy it, but...

I have it on good authority that Lucchino has already made overtures on behalf of Fenway Sports Management to purchase the bankrupt Batavia, N.Y., franchise. Batavia is presently being operated by the New York-Penn League, which for obvious reasons would like to unload this financial albatross. Batavia is affiliated with the Miami Marlins, also through 2020. When that affiliation expires, Lucchino plans to move the Batavia franchise to Pawtucket in hopes of mollifying fans there and affiliate it with the Red Sox, leaving the Spinners dangling for a new major-league partner.
http://www.lowellsun.com/baseball/ci_32113816/its-up-lowell-leaders-fans-save-spinners#ixzz5RZxgnvqR
 

phenweigh

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It's a pleasant drive of less than an hour and a half to Worcester. I don't know if I'm a typical fan from WMA, but I would go to games there much sooner than go to Boston to deal with high prices and impossible (to us) traffic. I was excited when I read that Worcester was a possible future location for the PawSox.
I also would take in Sox AAA games from Greater Springfield, but I expect to move before the Worcester stadium becomes a reality.
 

Humphrey

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What would indicate that an A franchise in Pawtucket would be a better business proposition than playing in Lowell?

I got news for you Larry, they are not going to fix up McCoy for you, pal.
 

StMic

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What would indicate that an A franchise in Pawtucket would be a better business proposition than playing in Lowell?
I agree with this. Moving the NY-P team to Pawtucket from Lowell doesn't make a lot of sense. Not sure how excited the fan base here would be about a rookie league team.

I also think Larry could care less about Pawtucket once the the team moves to Worcester. He's not the "mollifying" type.
 

moondog80

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How could they put a team that would draw 2500 fans in McCoy? It would seem like plying in an empty stadium. I guess they could put a tarp over the grandstand seats?
 

terrynever

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I agree with this. Moving the NY-P team to Pawtucket from Lowell doesn't make a lot of sense. Not sure how excited the fan base here would be about a rookie league team.

I also think Larry could care less about Pawtucket once the the team moves to Worcester. He's not the "mollifying" type.
Larry got along well with the Pawtucket Mayor, Don Grebien, and singled him out for praise after the deal was done. His beef was reserved for the Speaker of the House.
 

RIFan

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A single A team at McCoy will draw crowds that will be counted in the hundreds, not thousands. Consolation prizes suck and regardless of the major league affiliate many RI’ers won’t support it. I can’t see how the gate would even cover upkeep of an aging stadium.
 

terrynever

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I remember seeing Hanley Ramirez play in Lowell around 15 years ago. If you are a baseball fan, and a stud prospect is on the team, people will come,regardless of the league's level.
There were hardly any young players in Pawtucket worth watching the past two years. The good ones kept going straight from Portland to Boston with maybe a brief stop in Pawtucket. That has been true forever. Clemens had maybe three weeks in AAA ball.
 

JimD

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The Lowell Spinners have been a model organization and an unqualified success. Why would the Red Sox allowed that to be trashed to throw Rhode Island a weak consolation prize?
 

sittingstill

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The Lowell Spinners have been a model organization and an unqualified success. Why would the Red Sox allowed that to be trashed to throw Rhode Island a weak consolation prize?
Well, the only reason would be that the Sox don't own the Spinners, and a group buying the Batavia franchise would likely have some crossover with Red Sox ownership. There's a long list of reasons I don't see this happening, from the size of McCoy and the fact that its deficiencies are now exhaustively documented to the fact that the Lowell setup is pretty ideal, with players living in UMass dorms and using UMass dining and workout facilities all within a block of the ballpark. But I find it implausible that any team would go into McCoy otherwise--with the Paw/WooSox controlling the territory, the only way it seems even remotely possible would be if it were a Sox-connected team.
 

TomBrunansky23

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Yes--any level of affiliated baseball is included.

Chaz Scoggins has an interesting angle; I'm not sure I buy it, but...



http://www.lowellsun.com/baseball/ci_32113816/its-up-lowell-leaders-fans-save-spinners#ixzz5RZxgnvqR

His information is bad on one point, as the Batavia team is operated by Rochester Community Baseball, who own the AAA Red Wings (Twins). I think the Batavia team is technically owned by the NY-P league. It's a unique arrangement insofar as for every year RCB operates the team they get a higher percentage of the ultimate sale price. RCB is owned by shareholders, and operating the MuckDogs has been an annual drag on the finances, which are publicly reported. Nobody would love to see the team sold more than the owners of the Wings.
 

OBPercent1

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They came out with an early bird season ticket holder flyer yesterday. We are in the extreme minority as a season ticket holders keeping our tickets. I moved up to the Worcester area 9 years ago and have had the Pawsox tickets for 30 years now. Our ticket price will now be 3X what we currently pay. They are requiring a 25 % deposit now for tickets in 2021 which is a money grab. They are having something in downtown Worcester tomorrow.


https://www.telegram.com/news/20190815/worcester-red-sox-season-tickets-start-at-770
 

Ale Xander

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That's just a ridiculous amount for box season seats for a minor league team in a relatively poor market only an hour away from the ML. I can't even imagine what single game prices will be, but it looks like there's potential for embarrassment in an inaugural season. Are they expecting Commerce Bank, BJ's, Hanover and the breweries to buy 90% of the seasons? Or just comping everything unsold to Polar and Umass Medical?
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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Well, everyone around town is kissing the butts of LL and the Dentist daily and they're loving it, so I'm not surprised that they think people will be breaking down the gates to pay whatever sum they charge.
 

RIFan

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Major shocker. The stadium is seeing major cost overruns and the cost to attend is going up. Who would have ever seen this happening?

Worcester is going to choke on this. The 1st few years people will turn out, but eventually the cost of tickets will keep climbing and the gridlock of 290 and the surrounding areas will turn enough people off to start to depress attendance.

When plans were unveiled for Polar Park in August 2018, its construction costs were estimated at about $90 million. Of that amount, the city was responsible for about $56.1 million of that cost, with the Worcester Red Sox picking up the rest of the tab.

But the cost of building the ballpark has now been pushed up to $99.5 million, in large part because of higher overall construction costs.

Construction costs in the region have risen by about 5% a year in each of the last three years, according to Jacob Sanders, who handles intergovernmental and municipal initiatives in the city manager’s office.
Meanwhile, Augustus said the city will be responsible for covering the roughly $20 million in additional costs and property acquisition and site preparation for the ballpark. That included the cost of acquiring roughly 11 properties, relocation costs for businesses, as well as hazardous materials abatement of both soils and buildings, building demolition, removal of underground structures and general site work.

“Due to a number of unknown factors, particularly related to business relocation costs, and the need for a more complicated retaining wall system resulting from the steep grade of the site, those costs total $20.69 million,” Augustus said.
Under the original Letter of Intent with the ballclub, a 50-cent facility fee was going to be charged for home game tickets and a $1 fee for other events. But with the revised agreement, that fee will increase to $1 for ballgames and $1.25 for other events.
The claim is that the team is absorbing the stadium cost overruns. However, this fee is for a fund that the team will get to draw from to cover the higher repayments to the bond fund. If they can jack it up once, they can jack it up again.

The original Letter of Intent capped parking fees collected at designated city-owned parking facilities at $5 for “basic” parking locations and $10 for “premium” parking locations. But the city and team have now agreed to increase the parking fees to $8 for “basic” and $12 for “premium” locations.
 

Ale Xander

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Furthermore, I don't buy this "pay for itself with increased tax revenue" argument. If Fenway is dead in the winter and team on the road weeks, I wouldn't have faith in Worcester either. It's pie in the sky hope.
 

dirtynine

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A 10% overrun is downright frugal when judged against the history of notable Massachusetts construction projects. If they get away with only that I'd call it a huge victory.
 

RIFan

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Furthermore, I don't buy this "pay for itself with increased tax revenue" argument. If Fenway is dead in the winter and team on the road weeks, I wouldn't have faith in Worcester either. It's pie in the sky hope.
Agreed, It's a totally bogus argument that it will pay for itself. The ballpark itself would never be cost neutral. The claim is that the supporting development will generate enough taxes to pay for it. That is always voodoo math. Development would probably happen with or without the ballpark, especially if they just did the infrastructure improvements and didn't kick in $43M for the ballpark. They always use the rosiest of projections and usually discount the taxes paid by the property / businesses already there to show higher than what will be actual net revenue. No one will ever see a true accounting of the net revenues generated.