In New England, we have some of the most revered stadiums and professional sports teams. There are websites, fan clubs, team specific bars and restaurants. If you love your New England sports teams like I do, you watch every game as if it were a championship game. And if you are lucky, you go to see them live at their iconic stadiums and arenas whenever possible.
Countless fans file into Gillette Stadium to see the New England Patriots play. You can expect no less than heart-pounding AC/DC music, screaming fans, New England Patriots Cheerleaders, almost 70,000 fans chanting “Brady, Brady,” and that’s just the pre-game ceremonies.
Celtics fans were treated to an unexpected surprise this year when the “Men in Green” made the playoffs. When you go to the TD Garden, you can view the banners from the Celtics as well as the Bruins championships. Seeing Celtics numbers like 32, 33, and 00 always give me chills and thrills every time I visit the Garden.
Fenway Park is the oldest baseball stadium in the Major Leagues and is a living piece of not only baseball history but American history. I have attended games with my family, friends, and co-workers over the years. I have sat in those tiny seats as well as stood in the newly renovated Green Monster area. I am the third generation in my family to have been to Fenway and my sons continue that tradition, having attended games. Too many names to mention but having watched Yaz, Ortiz, Pedro, and Rice I feel really blessed as a Red Sox fan.
But with all due respect to Gillette, TD Bank Garden, and Fenway the best place to see a sporting event is McCoy Stadium. McCoy Stadium is home to the Pawtucket Red Sox, which is the AAA affiliate to the Boston Red Sox. Here is why I look forward to attending games at McCoy Stadium every summer.
1. Price – 4 tickets to a Pawtucket Red Sox game will cost me about $20. I understand it is a minor league game. However, in the past 20 years I have seen nearly every Boston Red Sox player play in Pawtucket at least once. Most Major Leaguers start in the minors and I have really lucky to see the likes of Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youkilis, and Buchholz.
2. Seating – A general admission ticket will get you access to a wide range of seats at McCoy Stadium – bleachers, grassy area in center field, seats on the third base line, first base line, even behind home plate. There are designated areas where your general admission ticket can allow you to sit so check with one of the attendants when you arrive. But to have the freedom to sit almost anywhere in the park and to see the game at different angles and levels is amazing.
3. Comfort – Every staff member at McCoy Stadium wants you there. That’s a bold statement, I know. But that’s how I feel and how my family feels. Security people to beer vendors to ticket takers to volunteers – they all welcome you into their home, their ballpark.
4. That Special Something – The stadium has tons of special events all summer that are family friendly – fireworks, Star Wars Night, baseball bat giveaways. The most impressive sight you will ever see is when they show our local military men and women on the “Jumbo” screen and the crowd roars and cheers like crazy. One game I was sitting next to the family of one of the serviceman on the “Jumbo” screen and their reaction was unforgettable.
5. Quality of the Product – As stated earlier, I realize this is Minor League Baseball. But, to a 9 year old and his friends, that does not matter one bit. To see the stadium in all its glory on a sunny Saturday afternoon, to hear the PA announcer call out “now batting, Xander Bogaerts”, to taste the French Fries and spill ketchup on your shirt, and watch professional ball players for a fair price, in any seat (within reason), with your family and friends at McCoy Stadium – awesome is not an awesome enough word to describe how awesome that is.
The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.