Summer of Baseball: Pawtucket gives a true experience
It’s always nice to visit older stadiums, even ones that have had some improvements. These stadiums give you a feel of baseball from year’s past.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island has a stadium like that.
McCoy Stadium, originally built in 1942 and renovated in 1999, seats more than 10,000 fans in a bowl-like stadium. The fences have some distance to them and, depending where you sit, you have a pretty solid look at the full field.
In fact, it didn’t seem like there were pretty much any bad seats in the house, outside of not being able to see fully down the corners in certain areas. But it’s a small percentage of the game, so overall, it’s not bad.
What’s interesting about McCoy Stadium, which is home to the Boston’s triple-A team – affectionately known as the PawSox, is the dugouts, which are field-level, cut into the stands, and have no protective fencing in front of it. It was just an interesting aspect to me as they are tucked back a bit and, surprisingly, I didn’t see any foul balls go flying into the dugouts.
As you come into the stadium, the team store, which is a little on the smaller side because of the amount of items they have, is on your right. You then head up a flight of steps where you hit the concourse and can see the field. It looked as though you could make your way around the stadium some, but the concourse didn’t seem to go all the way. Some of it was not available, so I’m not sure if one can walk all the way around. Also, bleachers in the outfield and way down the first-base line weren’t open, so we couldn’t even wander out there to take a peek.
The team store was pretty solid. It was well-stocked with PawSox gear, and it had something you don’t see everywhere – hats from other teams in the International League. I like that. It’s a smart move as visiting fans can get a hat etc. I heard somebody in the store question why they would carry hats of teams like the Durham Bulls and it’s actually quite simple – it’s smart business. It’s only a small section of the store and it could get some extra sales.
We’re now about a month into the season and it has been a chilly spring, but not every concession stand was open. Maybe they open more as the warmer weather comes? But the odd part is the night features a doubleheader, so two seven-inning games, and some of the stands were closing up by the second inning of game 2. Now, I understand the crowd wasn’t huge (nowhere close to the 5,000-plus announced), but people do still want to get some ballpark fare.
As for the choices, all the traditional food was offered. Hot dogs were very good, as were the fries. They had souvenir cups (though it was from the 2014 championship team? Leftovers maybe?) and the prices were on the higher side, but it’s almost what I expected being the area. For example, regular hot dogs were $4 (though jumbo ones were $5), and sausage and peppers were $8. It’s expected at the park, though. Beer selections were quite strong, too.
Those we interacted with were extremely friendly and helpful and offered some chatting. Though I didn’t say anything after it was done (maybe I should have?), I did notice two employees who didn’t take their hats off during the national anthem. That’s something that should be second nature to anybody working at the park.
One thing that did, somewhat, irritate me was the lack of “Take me out to the ballgame.” Normally, with two seven-inning games in a doubleheader, they have the fifth-inning stretch in each game. There was no fifth-inning stretch and the song was never played. I joke with one guy I go to games with about him missing the seventh-inning stretch last year in Syracuse during a game (during the eighth he asked me if they did the seventh-inning stretch … they had), but for a team to miss the stretch not once … but twice?
We did ask a few workers after the game and they said they didn’t know why nothing had been played. Maybe it was a glitch? But it was a little odd, that’s for sure. We even tweeted at the team, but never got a response.
One major prop – the program/yearbook is only $3 and is one of the best I’ve seen in the minor leagues. It’s thick and has a lot of information. A scorecard and stats are inserted (and show a $1 price tag, so maybe you can get them separate?), which is always a bonus. And, they had had a person selling them outside the main gate, so that is always cool to see.
Anyway, the stadium as a whole is excellent. From the parking lot, you get to see a big “PawSox” done up in shrubbery and the music being played before the game is excellent. If gives you the feel of baseball. Those in attendance seemed to have a pretty good grasp on baseball, which is a good thing. The seats were comfortable, but if it was a packed house, I can imagine it being a little uncomfortable at times.
In the end, this is one of those stadiums I wanted to get to see and am glad I got to make the trip. I’d definitely watch a game or two here again. Ticket prices are reasonable, and there’s an old-school baseball feel to the place.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Home of the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox)
Visited on: May 7, 2016
Opponent: Rochester Redwings (Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins)
Ratings (out of 10)
- Stadium: 7.5/10
- Concessions: 7/10
- Parking: 8/10
- Ambiance: 8/10
- Friendliness: 9/10
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