Larry Lucchino

David Butler II/USA Today Sports

PawSox move: Larry Luchhino says new Triple-A team will 'look, taste, feel, and smell like Worcester'

Red Sox Baseball
August 19, 2018 - 12:42 pm

In the end, it came down to feeling wanted.

Appearing on Mustard & Johnson on Saturday, former Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino explained why his group decided to move the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester.

"This was not our original plan," Lucchino said. "The plan was to stay in Rhode Island, move to downtown Providence on the waterfront and build a new ballpark, because at that point, McCoy Stadium was about 75 years old.

"That was our plan, but things change, life changes. (Partner) Jim (Skeffington) passed away. We tried to make it work in Pawtucket as hard as we could."

Political opposition in Rhode Island doomed plans to build a new ballpark in downtown Providence, a trepidation, Lucchino noted, based in part on the state's failed relationship with Curt Schilling's 38 Studios gaming company.

When it became clear that Rhode Island wouldn't step up, Lucchino and Co. took to other communities in an attempt to find a match and Worcester checked all the boxes.

"We just tried and we exhausted our exclusivity period in Rhode Island about a year ago," Lucchino said. "We went out and started talking to a few other would-be homes, people who did want to build the kind of ballpark we wanted to build in a downtown area. And then Worcester did such a wonderful job in terms of sharing our vision and working hard, reliably. They saw a ballpark, but they saw something that was more than a ballpark, it was an urban planning device. They were going to do some major urban planning in and around the canal district.

"We were very much wanted there," Lucchino added. "Why would you stay somewhere where you're not wanted and you're a source of controversy, vs. going someplace where they very much want you and there was broad-based support?"

Lucchino made it clear the new Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox will integrate into its new home.

"It's going to look, taste, feel and smell like Worcester," he said. "There's a chance this can be quite a special ballpark."

Pressed by host Craig Mustard on what "look, taste, feel and smell" actually means, Lucchino noted the park will fit the surrounding area from an architectural standpoint, likely include a diner -- Worcester is the birthplace of those -- and be named after Polar beverages, the seltzer maker that has called Worcester home for 150 years.

For more from Lucchino, check out the audio below.