MiLB.com came with the news today that the Pawtucket Red Sox have been sold to an owner group with Fenway Sports Management, a sister company of the Boston Red Sox, as minority stakeholders. That news alone wouldn’t be alarming. But it was also announced that the club will be moved to Providence, the capital of Rhode Island. But the PawSox are not moving to the end of the world, Providence is right around the corner of Pawtucket.
The PawSox have been the AAA affiliate of the Red Sox since 1973 as second longest existing affiliation in MiLB, only beaten by the affiliation between the Reading Phillies (now Fighting Phils) and the Philadelphia Phillies (since 1967).
According to Providence TV station WPRI the new owners, which also include Providence attorney James Skeffington, former CVS CEO Tom Ryan and former Fleet Financial Group CEO Terry Murray, plan to move the team to Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence. There are plans for a privately funded stadium which should be build within three years. But a major condition for this privately funded stadium is that the ground on which it will be build must be given to the new owners by the state of Rhode Island.
The owners met with the mayor of Pawtucket. The latter told the press that the new owners even didn’t come up with a possible long term future in the city. All they said was that it would not be Pawtucket…
The news is very fresh and it remains to be seen if the state of Rhode Island are willing to give the new owners land just like that. If that doesn’t happen, maybe the team will stay in Pawtucket. If the team really moves, you can wonder what will happen to historic McCoy Field.
The attendance numbers cannot be the reason for this move. Pawtucket has been one of the top drawing teams in Minor League Baseball over the past five years. In each of every season since 2010 the club drew well over 500,000 fans per season.
Anyhow, I keep saying it: There is no loyalty in Minor League Baseball.