PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Minor League Baseball submitted applications seeking to trademark the word “WooSox,” fueling rumors that the Pawtucket Red Sox could be Worcester-bound, but both the league and the team say it’s merely speculation at this point.
The move, first reported by MassLive, comes as PawSox executives continue to hold meetings with officials in both cities. The team says it expects to announce a decision on where it will build its new stadium at some point in September.
In late June, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed legislation aiming to keep the team in Pawtucket. The bill calls for a new $83-million ballpark to be built on the old Apex site. Most of the money – $71 million – would be borrowed by the quasi-public Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency; $33 million of that debt would be repaid by the team, and $38 million would be repaid with state and city tax revenue. The team would cover the other $12 million.
In the meantime, Worcester officials continue their efforts to woo the team there, though specifics on their proposal have not yet been made public. A reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette tweeted that an announcement about the city’s offer could come later this month.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo last week suggested the team is leaning towards moving to Worcester.
Adding to the speculation were the trademark applications filed by the MiLB, confirmed in a statement Friday by the league’s deputy general counsel, Robert Fountain.
“Minor League Baseball filed this trademark application because other cities are under consideration,” Fountain wrote. “This filing is a legal safety measure and should not be construed as suggesting that any decision has been made.”
Asked about the applications, PawSox spokesperson Bill Wanless simply said the team is conducting negotiations with both cities.
“It is understandable for there to be premature speculation, but we are still in discussions with cities and hope to conclude the process at or near the end of this season,” Wanless said.
Just hours before news about the trademark applications broke, PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg spoke in Central Falls at an event honoring former baseball executive and city native Roland Hemond.
“Our heart is here with you, that doesn’t change,” he told the crowd. “No matter where we play, our heart is here with you, our belief is with you.”
Steinberg said he expects the team will continue to do community outreach work in the Blackstone Valley even if it moves somewhere else.
“No matter where we are, the love that we have for Pawtucket and for Central Falls doesn’t change, no matter where we are located,” he added.