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May 1, 2018

Worcester officials, business leaders to hold PawSox talks this week

PHOTO/EDD COTE Holy Cross professor and sports economist Victor Matheson at the Wyman Gordon site in Worcester's Canal District, a proposed location for a minor league baseball stadium. Matheson cautions the city against committing too much public money for a ballpark.

Worcester officials and business leaders are scheduled this week for several meetings aimed at bringing the Pawtucket Red Sox to the city.

City Hall spokesman Michael Vigneux confirmed the week’s meetings to the WBJ, and in a statement, City Manager Ed Augustus said community leaders are involved in the discussions.

“As we continue exploring the possibility of bringing the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester, discussions with the team continue and we’re including important community partners in those conversations,” Augustus said.

Michael Angelini, a lawyer at Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey, said he's been asked by Augustus to serve on a committee to help bring the team to Worcester, but added that the committee has yet to meet. 

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce offered no comment on the meetings, and others reportedly involved could not be immediately reached for comment or provided no comment.

Gov. Charlie Baker after the 2018 Economic Development Summit in Worcester on Tuesday said the state has had preliminary talks with Worcester about the PawSox, but it's Worcester that needs to take the ball and run.

"The city is the one that will have to make it work with the PawSox," he said. 

Worcester officials and other business leaders have kept details of the negotiations of a stadium deal in the Canal District extremely private, even as the Rhode Island legislature apparently has slowed on its plans to keep the PawSox in the state.

The Rhode Island Senate in January approved an $83-million stadium deal with the city and state contributing $15 million and $23 million, but the House has yet to act on the bill.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Worcester business owner with knowledge of the Massachusetts talks said the team is very close to making a move to Worcester. 

“If I were a gambling man, I would put money on it,” he said, adding an announcement could be made as soon as June.

Read more

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