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March 1, 2024

WooSox, Bravehearts mend fences and team up for community initiatives

Four men shake hands Photo | Eric Casey (from left) Larry Lucchino, Charles Steinberg, Frank Vaccaro, and Matthew Vaccaro greet each other following the joint press conference held by the Worcester Red Sox and Worcester Bravehearts at Polar Park on Thursday.

Any lingering animosity from the Worcester Bravehearts toward the Worcester Red Sox seems to be a thing of the past, as Worcester’s two baseball franchises held a joint press conference at Polar Park on Thursday to announce a trio of community initiatives. 

The Bravehearts new ownership team was on hand for the announcement, which saw the two franchises reveal plans to help clean up the city, fight food insecurity, and work together to help train the next generation of baseball and softball players.

“Other than maybe getting married and having children, this might be one of the biggest days of my life, because we get the opportunity to not only grow the college program, but to partner with this organization who we’ve been fans of since day one,” said Frank Vaccaro, Sr., who is a member of the Bravehearts ownership, along with other members of the Vaccaro family. 

The family runs Masis Staffing Solutions, a Worcester-based staffing firm that’s been a corporate partner of the WooSox since the team was launched in 2021.  

“They came to us and invited us to join them,” said Charles Steinberg, president of the WooSox, of the Vaccaros, “and that’s why we wanted to reciprocate today and have this opportunity for us to get together.”

The two franchises’ combined efforts will include partnering to participate in the Earth Day Canal District Cleanup slated for April 22. Coaches and players from both squads will team up to provide instructional help to youth players at the five free WooSox Youth Clinics held throughout the season, and both teams have committed to donating leftover concessions to community fridges in an attempt to fight food insecurity.

The approach by the Vaccaro family stands in contrast to the prior ownership of the Bravehearts, who expressed dissatisfaction the team formerly known as the Pawtucket Red Sox would be moving to Worcester in 2021. 

Photo | Eric Casey
Worcester Bravehearts mascot Jake the Lion (left) embraces Worcester Red Sox mascots Woofster and Smiley Ball at the conclusion of the two teams' joint press conference at Polar Park on Thursday.

"I hope that people can understand and pardon my family and me for respectfully not sharing in the elation at this time where the impact of all this on the Worcester Bravehearts’ business operation remains to be seen," former Bravehearts owner and president John Creedon Jr. wrote in a 2018 letter to fans of the team.

Creedon Jr. owned the Bravehearts with his father John Creedon Sr. and his sister, Julie Creedon-Linton. The Creedon family sold the Bravehearts to the Vacarro family in February. 

The Bravehearts play in the Future’s League, a collegiate-level baseball league headquartered in Weymouth. The WooSox play in the International League and are the top minor league baseball team for the Boston Red Sox.

As another gesture of goodwill, the WooSox announced Braveheart season ticket holders will be given free tickets to the WooSox opening day game on April 2. 

The Bravehearts will begin their 2024 season on May 25 with a game at Fitton Field at the College of the Holy Cross. 

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