WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — A happy day in Worcester, but a sad one for Pawtucket.
The newly named WooSox played their historic first game Tuesday at Polar Park after spending 47 years as the PawSox in Rhode Island.
The WooSox are now 1-0 at home after beating the Syracuse Mets 8-5.
Worcester lured the team from Pawtucket and helped pay for the new $160 million ballpark in the city’s crumbling canal district.
COVID-19 delayed construction on the park for several weeks and capacity is limited to just 2,400 fans.
Local business owners in Worcester are hopeful the team will bring new life to the neighborhood.
“It’s really cool that it’s within earshot. You can actually hear the announcers from inside the store sometimes,” Ethan Gilbert from Green Zone Smoke Shop said.
“I don’t know the full extent of the plan, but I know they’re going to keep going and going, and why not? Why not? We can use it here in Worcester,” Bill Lauden from Leather-Smith added.
WooSox Chairman Larry Lucchino says he is hoping those who are missing McCoy will give Polar Park a try.
“We invite Rhode Islanders to come up here, we are going to celebrate our heritage through the PawSox,” Lucchino said. “There is no ill will towards Rhode Island, maybe a little ill will toward part of the politicians, but that we will grow out of.”