Get ready to cheer for the Woosox

Up-and-coming Gateway City hopes to land Red Sox affiliate

WORCESTER, a Gateway City on its way up, appears poised to spend some of its hard-won capital to land the Red Sox triple-A affiliate, which will be nicknamed the Woosox.

Team and city officials aren’t saying anything, but they have scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon at City Hall to announce the deal.

Worcester officials have been tight-lipped to this point about how much money they intend to put up to lure the Woosox to town, but the package is likely to be as expensive as what Pawtucket and Rhode Island were offering for a new stadium. Legislation approved by the Rhode Island legislature in June required the team to put up $45 million, with another $38 million coming from unusual special revenue bonds financed with state and local tax revenues generated by the stadium and development in the surrounding area.

While Rhode Island officials struggled to find an acceptable package to keep the team in Pawtucket, the Baker administration has been very supportive of Worcester’s bid for the team, although the governor never committed to any direct funding for a stadium.

At an editorial board meeting with the Telegram & Gazette at the end of May, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were both optimistic about landing the Red Sox affiliate. “It is a real opportunity for us a commonwealth, for the city, for the central region of the state,” Polito said. Baker said Worcester landing the Red Sox affiliate would be akin to Boston landing General Electric.

“What we’ve said to the city is, you tell us how you want to frame your approach to supporting this economic opportunity, and we will then work to support you on the way you are chasing your opportunity,” Baker said. “We’d love to hit this one out of the park,” Polito added. “And if we get to that point where we need to be the closer, that is something that we would be considering very seriously.”

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Worcester spent close to $200,000 between September and April on the consulting services of Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, and Jeffrey Mullan and Erik Schulwolf of the Foley Hoag law firm. Mullan is a former state secretary of transportation.

Zimbalist, who helped lead opposition to Boston’s bid for the Olympics, was along earlier this month when Pawsox chairman Larry Lucchino and officials from the team and league toured the Canal District, where the new stadium could be located.