Friday, July 22, 2011

A Tribute to the Minor Leagues: Your Pawtucket Red Sox

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa and I am honored to be a new contributor here at Soxy Lady! I'm a mom of a 7 month old little boy, author of Filling Our Bucket and a huge Boston Red Sox fan. My family lives in Rhode Island, and we are frequent visitors to McCoy Stadium to see our "hometown" team, the Pawtucket Red Sox! If you've never been, check it out! Below, you'll find lots of information about the ballpark and the team. Enjoy!

We are huge Boston Red Sox fans. But as Rhode Islanders, and now Rhode Islanders with a 7 (already!!) month old, it is pretty tough for us to get up to Fenway Park as much as we would like. Aside from that, the cost of a Red Sox game is not a small amount! Between tickets, food, a couple sodas...we are often talking over $100 a game! I love my Red Sox, but sometimes, I love having the money in my pocket a little more.

So what is a girl, and a family, to do? Well, head to a Pawtucket Red Sox game of course!!

The PawSox are the Triple A affiliate of the big club and play at McCoy Stadium. We are lucky enough to pretty much live within a stones throw of the park, so it is really easy for us to pop on over for a game.

A little history about McCoy. It was built in 1942, and named after the mayor of Pawtucket, Thomas P. McCoy. It was renovated in 1998. So much like the big boys, the PawSox have been playing in their original stadium for a long time, although not quite 100 years!

McCoy is also home to the longest game in baseball history. 33 innings over 3 days, April 18, 19, and June 23, 1981. On June 23, the PawSox were victorious and beat the Rochester Red Wings 3 - 2!

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the game, and there has been quite a few stories and events in recognition of it, including a story that aired on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. I never watch CBS, but I did that night. There were two gentlemen in the story who were at the game, two men that were two of the few fans that stayed until 4am that first night. They had them sit in the seats they sat in for the game...on opposite sides of the field. It was a fantastic story, and reminded us of the glory and excitement of baseball. Want to learn even more? NY Times columnist Dan Barry has written a book about the event called Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball's Longest Game.  I haven't read it yet, but it is definitely on my summer reading list.

As an aside, I have to wonder what would happen if a game went on and on and on like this these days. Would someone pull a Bud Selig, call the game and have it end in a tie?

Another great bit of history at McCoy are the murals. The Murals at McCoy, painted by Carol Heuser, are of PawSox greats over the years. Men who have made significant contributions to the PawSox and Red Sox organization not only as players, but as people. Here is a collage of the murals. Do you recognize any of the greats? See your favorite player?

photo credit

McCoy Stadium and the Pawtucket Red Sox are incredibly family friendly place. Before the ballgames, there is almost always some sort of entertainment outside the gates. We missed the band this week, but as we walked in I heard people talking about how great they were. Every Sunday after the game, kids of all ages can go down onto the field and run the bases! There is face painting, several kid friendly giveaways throughout the summer, and several games start at 6:05 - you know, to accommodate those early bedtimes!

On Sunday, the PawSox played the Durham Bulls, the minor league team for the Tampa Bay Rays - who the Boston Red Sox beat that night in a 16 inning battle, 1 - 0. It was hot, but McCoy Stadium has the luxury of having most seats under the roof, and during a day game with the position of the sun, typically the only seats in the sun are those that are down the third base line, the bleacher seats in center and right, and the grassy area in left. We were lucky enough to be sitting nearly right behind home plate, so we were under the roof. A comfortable breeze was blowing, so that definitely helped!

our view - no zoom!
Tickets at McCoy are incredibly reasonable, as I'm sure you can imagine and because the stadium has a capacity of only just over 10,000, there isn't a bad seat in the house. Box seats at McCoy are $11 for all ages, General admission seats are $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under and seniors. General admission seats are great, but if you choose to go that route, remember that you'll have to get to the park fairly early, particularly for weekend games! The seats fill up quick, and the ballpark opens two hours before game time.

McCoy offers a good selection of concession options at reasonable prices. They even have the complete list of their concessions - with prices - available online! Please note the price of a draft beer in McCoy Stadium - $4.75. They even offer healthier fare for those who may not want to go all out in the full baseball experience, noshing on hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Salads, fruit and hummus with pita chips are just a few of these healthier options.

photo credit
The mascots of the PawSox are Paws and Sox. And while they are no Wally the Green Monster, they are pretty awesome. I mean, according to his bio, Paws favorite song is "Centerfield" by John Fogarty. That's MY favorite baseball song. It was meant to be!!

Do you want to meet Paws and/or Sox? You can!!! During the 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 9th innings, one of these furry mascots will be at the SBLI Paws Pavilion to take pictures and give autographs! Unfortunately, when we went to the game on Sunday, I didn't get a chance to get down there with the little man. But, I did get a picture of the Pavilion! Too bad that person was standing there, kind of ruining the shot. But, I have never claimed to be a photographer! See how the seat looks like ice? That's to keep Paws and Sox cool. Since they are polar bears. Of course.

TSI is already a big Paws fan. He's got a fun little beanbag Paws that we bought him way back in February, when he took his very first trip to McCoy!! We started training him about PawSox and Red Sox love young, and brought him to the ballpark the day it opened for ticket and souvenir sales!! They didn't expect anyone to show up, but we showed up about an hour after I saw the posting on Facebook, and they actually had to unlock the doors for us. That was the day we also bought our flex pack tickets.

The PawSox offer a really cool deal with these tickets. You can purchase packs in multiples of 25. The more tickets you purchase, the lower the price! We decided to get the 25 tickets of the box seat package. Normally box seats are $11 per set, but when you purchase through the flex ticket pack, you save $1 a ticket! That's a total of a $25 savings over time! Pretty sweet! When you want to go to a game, all you have to do is show up at the ticket window and exchange your voucher for a real ticket. It's pretty great. Just remember, there will always be games that are super popular that you should consider getting your tickets in advance. Most of these happen to be the games where there are fireworks such as Memorial Day and 4th of July weekend. We got a few games in advance - including Memorial Day Sunday and July 30, which is Clay Buchholz bobble head giveaway night! Get well soon Clay!

We left the game on Sunday in the bottom of the 5th inning. It was hot and TSI was getting sleepy and needed a nap. That's the beauty of going to a PawSox game, it's so close and the tickets are cheap enough that you don't feel too bad when you have to leave early! On the way out, I got to take a closer look at the area outside the ballpark. This season, they have lined the sidewalks around the outfield with pictures of some of the greats that have played in a PawSox uniform. As part of this addition, they created a nice little garden area with some pretty cool statues!

I do have to say that I love they included a little girl in this group of statues! Girls love baseball too!! I also love how one group of kids is just playing for fun, and the other is clearly playing more competitively. They are fun and full of whimsy. Someday, that'll be TSI!!

So, if you are a baseball lover and you live in the Rhode Island area - or even if you don't live in the Rhode Island area! - you must head on over to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket to check out a game. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and see one of the major leaguers that are set to come off the DL soon doing a rehab assignment!!

Play Ball!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds like such a great time! Lived in Charlotte for awhile and checked out the PawSox when they came by for a Knights visit- but have never made it up to Pawtuckett.