Review by Gary
After 50 years in their venerable home in Pawtucket, RI, the longtime Red Sox Triple-A farm team relocated to their brand-new home, Polar Park, in Worcester, MA in 2021. The newly christened Worcester Red Sox (aka the Woo Sox) and their new digs is akin to getting rid of your favorite old, holey socks for that brand new pair of Christmas socks your grandmother got you. Despite mixed feelings about leaving McCoy Stadium, Polar Park does not disappoint.
On an August drive through Worcester, I was happy to discover that Polar Park offered guided tours. I was treated to a thorough examination of the place by Dennis, my tour guide. He was certainly proud of his town (Worcester is known as the Heart of Mass or NE). We spent 90 minutes exploring the stadium, which I had to cut short as I had left my wife in the car thinking I’d just take a quick peek. I was in the doghouse for most of the afternoon afterwards, but I digress.
Polar Park boasts a vast array of 21st century amenities as well as the usual features expected in a high-level minor-league stadium. General Admission seats can be found all the round park, including behind the more expensive home plate seats. This was particularly impressive to me as the ball club obviously is aware that many fans spend more money on concessions than they do their seats. Fans can choose from a wide selection of the stadium’s 9,508 seats.
The seats beyond the right field fence are triple decked and are named after the Triple Decker homes that are famous in town. The view beyond the center field wall is of the downtown area and I liked that the video board was placed so that fans could see the spires and rooves of those historic buildings. Along the grandstand concourse are fixed, but pivoting folding seats, which can accommodate a wide variety of mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters, etc.).
I liked how the foul poles were named Fair Poles, which makes total sense to me since any ball that hits it is actually a fair ball. Why no one thought of this since the game was invented in the mid-1850’s is interesting. Unfortunately, Worcester’s fair poles had already been written on by fans (and perhaps staff) looking to mark their territory. Ugh.
Polar Park has a Fan Services area with 21st century amenities, namely an enclosed Sensory Friendly Room, far from the sights and sounds of the playing field for those needing such relief. Speaking of relief, Dennis pointed out that Polar Park has an abundance of women’s restrooms, including 100 stalls. Another interesting and unique feature of Polar Park is a sustainable vegetable and herb garden on the club level.
The only thing that I would say was a negative was the minimal attention given to the history of the Pawtucket Red Sox, a place where many Boston Red Sox greats cut their teeth since 1970. Other than a wall of former players and a glass booth with a vintage Pawtucket jersey, there wasn’t much by way of homage to the Rhode Island club. Overall, Polar Park is a fantastic facility for baseball and I certainly plan to return some day to see the Woo Sox in action.