Will the Pawtucket Red Sox stay at their longtime McCoy Stadium home or move somewhere else in the city? Don Grebien, the city’s mayor, hopes there will be an answer soon.
In an appearance on Rhode Island television station WPRI that aired Sunday, Grebien said that “in a perfect world,” the long-term home of the Boston Red Sox’ minor league affiliate will be decided this baseball season.
Questions about the team’s future have lingered since the PawSox came under new ownership, led by former Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, in 2015. At first, to Grebien’s chagrin, the team sought a new home in Providence. That plan fell through, and the team has more recently said it will try to stay in Pawtucket.
But that doesn’t mean the PawSox will stay at McCoy. A report released in January found that the city-owned stadium requires $68 million in renovations. Alternatively, a new stadium at the same site would likely cost $78 million to build.
The PawSox, meanwhile, have been considering putting a new stadium at other Pawtucket sites, and Grebien said doing so was probably the most cost-effective option. Among the possible locations: the Apex Companies building, a pyramid-shaped structure visible from I-95, which Grebien said in Sunday’s interview was probably the frontrunner. Another site near the Seekonk River is also under consideration, he said.
PawSox general manager Dan Rea said in an interview Monday that the team has not yet determined a potential price tag for a stadium at a new site. He said Grebien’s timeline of a decision this season was “fair and realistic.”
Grebien said the project’s funding sources may also help determine where a stadium will go. There is a “stigma” in Rhode Island around government funding for private enterprise, he said, after the failure of another Red Sox-related state investment: Curt Schilling’s former video game company, 38 Studios, which went bankrupt after receiving millions from the state.
“We want to make sure it’s a fair partnership with the state, the city, and the PawSox,” Grebien said.
Apex confirmed in a statement that it has “had numerous conversations with the Pawtucket Red Sox ownership group about the use of a portion of our property near downtown as a potential location for the team’s new ballpark.”