PAWTUCKET – It’s an offseason topic that’s been simmering on the local baseball hot stove – how will the Pawtucket Red Sox handle their next two seasons – their last two here at McCoy Stadium?
“In true PawSox fashion, we want to sprint to the end,” PawSox vice chairman Mike Tamburro said. “We want to do it right and make this city and this state proud of us.”
Team and city officials held a joint press conference on Monday, in conjunction with an appearance by the Red Sox equipment truck. With Babe Ruth’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, on hand, the PawSox unveiled a list of five initiatives the ballclub plans to take in 2019, in keeping with celebrating 50 years of an affiliate partnership between the PawSox and their big brothers to the north.
“We hope you join us in helping us give back to this great community over the next two years,” said Tamburro, who shared the podium with Pawtucket mayor Donald Grebien, Central Falls mayor James Diossa, and PawSox president Dr. Charles Steinberg. “Let’s make the most of our time together and let’s do it right.”
The “Celebrate Rhode Island” initiative includes:
1) Kids ages 12 and under eating free at every home game, Monday through Friday, in April and May.
2) R.I. school children from kindergarten through 12th grade who successfully advance to the next grade level will receive a free ticket to a choice of several summertime games at McCoy in June, July, and August.
3) The club will present a traveling “PawSox Rhode Show” throughout R.I. at the request of the state’s 39 cities and towns. For those wishing to participate, they would be the recipients of baseball instruction from PawSox players as well as mascot visits, music, and souvenirs.
4) Charitable endeavors from the team and the PawSox Foundation will continue, as well as the partnership with Mentor Rhode Island.
5) PawSox do not currently project to make a profit in 2019. In the event the final numbers end up in the black, they have agreed to split those profits 50/50 with the City of Pawtucket.
Upon the conclusion of Monday’s presentation to an audience that included students from St. Raphael Academy and Agnes Little Elementary School, Grebien and Steinberg fielded questions from the media separately and for roughly five minutes. The mayor said this particular plan was initially hatched a few months ago.
“I don’t think so and if that was the case, I wouldn’t be here,” Grebien said when asked if this is an attempt on the PawSox’ part to attract fans to the ballpark despite the club’s lame-duck status. “They want to keep their commitment to the city and broaden it. They’re going to be here for the next two years and my job is to get as much as I can for my community.”
Grebien dubbed the proposed revenue-sharing plan that will only come to fruition in the event the PawSox generate a positive cash flow this season, “a minor point. It sounds good, but it’s about the other points and about them being one of our biggest charitable donors. It’s about the community assets.”
Steinberg was unsure of when the last time the PawSox showed a profit. He did point out that over $100,000 in community goodwill has been consistently dispersed throughout the years.
“We would like to double that commitment, presumably for 2019 and again in 2020. That’s where the heart is coming from,” Steinberg said. “There’s no question we’ll be playing baseball at McCoy over the next two years. We do want to continue to get fans at the ballpark. That’s the core of your business, but we want to affirm is that we want to continue our community outreach.”
Grebien confirmed the surface has been scratched on potential philanthropic efforts continuing in a post-2020 world between the PawSox and Pawtucket.
“As far as stretching the Blackstone Valley, we want to make sure there’s a commitment,” the mayor said.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03