This afternoon at McCoy Stadium, several staff members of the Pawtucket Red Sox hosted a clinic for local youth baseball leagues from Providence and Pawtucket. Olneyville at Silver Lake Little League, Darlington American Little League, and the Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket attended a hitting and base running clinic at the stadium. This event, along with the very popular Dining on the Diamond series, was/is part of a series of special events to take place at McCoy Stadium and involving the Pawtucket Red Sox organization. The Pawtucket Red Sox, as you know, are moving to Polar Park and Worcester next season, 2021. To say a final farewell to its local Rhode Island fans, The Pawtucket Red Sox have orchestrated a number of special events for the week and weekend to come – October 15th through the 18th. For more information on the events happening later this week and next weekend, go to www.milb.com/pawtucket/news/pawsox-to-host-a-final-celebration-at-mccoy-stadium.
As for today’s clinic, I was thrilled to be invited to come up and watch a part of the clinic. PawSox staffers Joe Bradlee and Alex Richardson, both former collegiate level baseball players, ran the practice right on the field at McCoy. Players participated in running the bases, hitting wiffleballs in the outfield, and even got a chance to have their names announced over the stadium’s PA system. Family members were allowed to watch their star player from the bleacher section of centerfield as well as the grassy area of left field. It was a gorgeous weather day with blue skies and a light breeze at the stadium. Definitely ideal baseball weather at McCoy.
As I was photographing the kids on the field, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic over the stadium itself. After all, I went to McCoy as a kid and then took my kids to games up until last year. I took a few moments to photograph the bleachers we once sat in, the grassy area just passed left field where my nephew (he was 2 or 3) dropped his pants and peed on the lawn, the concession stand that I spent A LOT of time at, my perch in the upper level hallway on the third base line where my sons and I would park and eat hot dogs, and soaked in all of the memories. It was sort of like saying good-bye to a friend that is moving. McCoy has been a big part of my life (and a lot of us here in Rhode Island) for almost 50 years.
I was really happy for the families and the players who got to participate in today’s Pawtucket Red Sox baseball clinic. Just being on the field, sitting in the dugout, running the bases, hearing your name on the PA stadium system, running out to the outfield had to have been a huge thrill for these RI baseball players and their families. The PawSox have always been incredibly generous with their community service programs and today was no exception. These 30 or so kids and their families will have these memories to last a lifetime. Special thanks to Joe and Alex for allowing me to attend and be a witness to a great Rhode Island Baseball Experience for these baseball families.
Once again, the events happening later this week, October 15th through the 18th can be found at www.milb.com/pawtucket/news/pawsox-to-host-a-final-celebration-at-mccoy-stadium.