Lucchino puts Pawtucket back on table for PawSox home
Pawtucket Red Sox chairman Larry Lucchino put Pawtucket back on the table as a future home for the team on Monday, after owners spent months saying it was moving elsewhere and would not consider staying in the city.
"We think a new ballpark is important to fulfilling the vision we have for this franchise," Lucchino said after a news conference presenting the team's new leadership.
When asked if a new ballpark must be somewhere other than Pawtucket, he replied: "At this point, we've taken a position that we're open to everything, every possibility."
It represents a shift for the team, which has said since a new ownership group led by Lucchino took over in February that it was leaving Pawtucket. It said a feasibility study found it would cost at least $65 million to renovate Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium, the team's current home, to catch up with other Triple-A ballparks.
It sought instead to build a new stadium on riverfront land near downtown Providence, and in April rolled out a deal asking for $120 million in state subsidies. The request met with strenuous public opposition, and in September the plan died.
Since then, several government officials and groups elsewhere have come forward with an interest in luring the PawSox, including from the Massachusetts communities of Worcester, Springfield and Fall River.
Lucchino said on Monday that they are studying numerous proposals and that the team has no timetable for a decision.
"We need time to do this methodically and carefully," he said.
He also said he was planning to meet with Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, who has been pushing all along for the team to take another look at McCoy. A spokesman for Grebien did not immediately comment Monday.
Gov. Gina Raimondo's administration has encouraged the owners "to take a fresh look at Pawtucket, but only if it makes sense for Rhode Island taxpayers," spokeswoman Marie Aberger wrote in an email.
The team's new president, Charles Steinberg, said Monday that Pawsox officials were committed to stay in Pawtucket for five more years, and the team is now focused on reconnecting with fans that were turned off when they were "jolted" by the sudden idea that the team would leave Pawtucket.
"We have a repair job to do here. There's work to be done," he said. "There were wounds that were suffered by fans here. We're acutely aware of that."