I have been going to McCoy Stadium to see Pawtucket Red Sox (or more commonly referred to as PawSox) games for 30 years. It is situated on the same site, 1 Columbus Ave, as it was when I first started driving to games as a teenager. The entrance, the ticket window, the available parking lots, these have all remained constant. Sure, the exit off Route 95 has changed (a bit), the price for admission has gone up (slightly), and some of the stadium’s accommodations have changed (for the better). But the experience and the thrills and the beauty of minor league baseball have only gotten better with age. Now that I bring my sons to the games, the Pawtucket Red Sox is truly a magical and memorable Rhode Island Baseball Experience for both me and my family.
Here are my top ten (I could come up with 100 or more reasons) why I love going to the PawSox every chance I get:
- Affordable ticket prices – General Admission tickets at the game last night were $11. They are $9 if you buy them in advance. So, $33 got myself and my two sons into the game. Incredible.
- Actual Major Leaguers in a Minor League Baseball game – Drew Pomeranz, a Boston Red Sox roster player, pitched. Sam Travis, a Boston Red Sox roster player, hit a home run. Adam Lind, a veteran MLB® first baseman turned an awesome double play. Kids get up close to watch incredibly talented baseball players, far closer than they will ever get at Fenway Park or any other Major League stadium.
- Access to the entire field – General Admission seats, in my opinion, are the way to go. My kids and I start on the 2nd deck on right field. Then, move to the 3rd deck. Then, to the bullpen area. Then to the bleachers. Maybe to right field or behind home plate. There is never a bad seat or view at McCoy Stadium and the general admission seats allow you to venture through the park to see all of it!!!
- The history on banners, murals, and signs – McCoy Stadium and the PawSox do an incredible job telling the fans the story of baseball. The longest game, storied players that have played for Pawtucket Red Sox over the years, interesting facts, great photos. Kids of all ages (myself included) can look up at Bruce Hurst or Jacoby Ellsbury or Nomar Garciaparra and remember a game at McCoy when they saw those players. Nice way to blend the past with the present!
- Excellent Sponsorship Shout-Outs and Promotions – Cardi’s Furniture had a cool band and tent just outside the ticket office. Hasbro has an awesome banner feature its Monopoly character, Rich Uncle Pennybags in the centerfield seating area. Advanced Eye Care was featured in a race between a Hazel and a Blue Eyeball. There were give-aways, fan contests, the scoreboard was lit up with ads. The walls are covered with beautifully covered banners and signage. It is a home run for a business to advertise with the PawSox.
- Engagement with the fans – When we first walked in, there was a “Spin-A-Wheel” for stadium prizes. My son stood next to replicas of Boston Red Sox players Chris Sale and Mookie Betts to measure his height versus theirs. Fans got to go onto the field to try and win prizes. T-shirts were thrown into the stands. The two team mascots, Paws and Sox, walk around the stadium, greet fans, take photos, and rev up the crowd. There is a game going on, of course, but the fan engagement at McCoy is just second to none.
- The Centerfield grass – This is an amazing view. One of the best spots to watch the game. Bring a blanket and relax on the grass right about left/center field. You have the PawSox bullpen to your right and maybe if you are lucky, one of the Pawtucket Red Sox players will toss you a baseball. And watching a home run sail out of the park from that spot is incredible. Tons of families set up on the grass and it is an experience you don’t want to miss.
- Food and Drinks are available throughout the stadium – Food vendors line up the 2nd tier of the stadium. There is a snack bar in centerfield as well as just beyond the bleachers in right field. You can get a monster hot dog, a helmet of fries, a cold drink, a craft beer, maybe a glass of wine. Ice cream is served in tiny PawSox helmets. There is pizza and chicken tenders and fried dough. Sponsors host barbecue events inside and outside of the stadium. And the food is pretty good and reasonably priced.
- Fireworks after the game – Last night’s event featured a pirates and princess type theme, so the fireworks and the music centered around that theme as well. The PawSox always put on an awesome fireworks show. Some fans can actually go onto the field to watch. My sons and I watched from the grass in centerfield. Really, there is no bad spot to watch the fireworks at McCoy Stadium.
- Last, but not least, the Salute to Veterans – “In Debt to a Vet”, that about says it all. The game could be tied in the 9th inning or a pitcher could be throwing a no-hitter or a grand slam could be hit. Never, not one play on the field, brings the entire stadium to its feet like the PawSox salute to Veterans segment. Fans cheer, clap, scream when they see someone from their hometown on the big screen in center field, and they stand and cheer until the next inning starts. It is an emotional and uplifting part of the experience that everyone joins in on. Last night, they had a World War II Veteran come out to a roaring ovation from the crowd. Just amazing. Great job by the Pawtucket Red Sox organization – top to bottom – for this Veteran’s salute segment.
Seriously, I could go on and on. The Pawtucket Red Sox is the ultimate baseball experience here in Rhode Island for families and fans of baseball. They do an amazing job engaging the fans and keeping baseball junkies like myself as fans for life. The play on the field is incredible and so is the experience in the ball park. Here’s hoping that the Pawtucket Red Sox remain in Rhode Island for generations to come!!!