Extension keeps PawSox in city, likely ends talk of 'ProSox'

Extension keeps PawSox in city, likely ends talk of 'ProSox'

Ownership: We are committed to this city

PAWTUCKET - A lease extension approved by the Pawtucket City Council last week keeps the Pawtucket Red Sox in the city until at least 2021 and ends any chatter about moving the baseball team to the I-195 land in neighboring Providence.

Council members said they took great pleasure in signing off on the extension, especially given how an earlier suggestion in a Providence Journal letter to the editor had generated so much conversation about moving the PawSox out of Pawtucket.

Councilor Terry Mercer pointed out that it had been 20 years since the writer of the letter had even been to a PawSox game, so long ago that "John Valentin and Tim Naehring were patrolling the left side of the infield."

For someone to suggest that the PawSox are "in a terrible location" and housed in a "mediocre stadium" shows just how little they know about McCoy Stadium and what the PawSox mean to Pawtucket, said Mercer. Council members "wholeheartedly" agreed to the motion to approve the lease agreement and keep the PawSox in Pawtucket, likely putting an end to any talk of moving the team to Providence as the "ProSox," as suggested in the letter.

The agreement between the city, state, and PawSox adds a five-year option after 2021, meaning the PawSox could be here until at least 2026, according to city officials.

Mike Tamburro, president of the Pawtucket Red Sox, reaffirmed the team's long-term commitment to Pawtucket, saying the lease agreement was in the works "long before the piece" in The Journal.

"We've been here for 40 years and it's been a great home and a great partnership with the city and state," said Tamburro. "By extending this lease, we show everybody where we want to be."

The PawSox will be in Pawtucket for the "foreseeable future" as team officials seek to make McCoy the "best facility" they possible can, said Tamburro.

The new lease agreement, reached after prompting by state officials, calls for a feasibility study of a stadium that will turn 75 years old in 2017, said Tamburro. The study will show what kind of improvements should be made to modernize a facility that has already undergone significant upgrades over the past few years, he said.

Tamburro chose not to respond to the contents of the Journal letter specifically, but he did say that the PawSox remain proud to be part of Pawtucket.

"Pawtucket and the PawSox are synonymous," he said. "It's been a great partnership for a very long time."

The team's commitment to the community starts in Pawtucket and expands to the Blackstone Valley and across Rhode Island, said Tamburro. One of the things he takes the greatest pride in is seeing license plates in the parking lot showing fans from across New England, New York and beyond.