Jump to content
  • Create Account

Woo! Worcester




Mrs Ash and I went to Worcester last night to see their brand-new AAA team, the Worcester Red Sox (known almost exclusively as the Woo Sox).  It's part of our farewell tour in New England as we prepare to move back to Nevada.

We took a train scheduled to arrive an hour early, so as to have time to take in the sights, but mechanical troubles had us traveling about 5 MPH for the last 5 miles, meaning we arrived about when the next train was supposed to (though it became delayed too, in a ripple effect), and we found our seats only in time for the first pitch.

Polar Park, named for a local soft-drink maker, is a nice modern ballpark.  Most of the food tends toward mundane hot dogs and nachos, but we did pass up the long line for the George's Coney Island hot dog stand (which is a satellite of a Worcester landmark that Mrs Ash and I ate at on one previous trip to the city) and likewise long line at a BBQ stand.  The park was pretty close to a sellout crowd on this Wednesday night, not too surprising for a brand new team/park but the waning of the pandemic makes everything hard to predict.

The game itself was not much better than the train ride, a 18-5 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Rochester Red Wings, who apparently took the Twins' snub personally when St Paul came into the league, as they have aligned themselves with another franchise, the Nationals. What ingrates.  The visitors had the losing record (7-18) coming in, whereas the home team was 15-10, but the game didn't reflect the past.

Daniel Palka was in the lineup as DH for the Wings, and Chris Herrmann subbed in at catcher for the Woo Sox. Twins fans may recall they were once swapped for each other in a trade with Arizona.  Both have bounced around a bit since then, still seeking another chance in the majors. Palka had much the better of it last night, launching home runs in two consecutive innings; I don't remember Herrmann doing anything except look tall behind the plate.  Palka was aided by a very short porch in right field, with an outfield wall insufficiently high to moderate the advantage to a dead-pull lefty bat.  Kind of the opposite layout to Fenway Park in that regard, and the AAA decision makers apparently chose to not even try to draw comparisons to the major league counterpart 40 miles to the east. (Although, they do play Sweet Caroline during the 8th inning, because Red Sox.)

Among young talent in the lineups, Rochester had only Luis Garcia, a highly-regarded 21-year old second baseman, and Carter Kieboom, who I thought was a "perennial prospect" but turns out to be still only 23.  Worcester had a broader smattering of starters 25 and under,  I'm not sure anyone really stood out for me - I saw various bad reads and weak arms in the outfield, and a strange decision by third-baseman Yairo Munoz to not dive for a grounder than looked reachable. 

Until about the 8th inning or so, none of the pitchers for either side registered higher than about 90 on the radar gun.  Not many sharp breaking pitches diving into the dirt, for that matter.  Made it nearly through the entire first inning before a walk and then a strikeout.  Coincidentally or not, 26-year old Wings starter Sterling Sharp was the youngest of ten men (five for each team) to take the mound.  For pitchers, AAA seems to be the graveyard of dreams, and few with a live fastball or good sliders stay there for long.  AAA is really kind of my least favorite level of baseball, but oh well.  On a less grouchy note, Rochester hurler Joan Baez came into the game for the sixth inning; if they played Diamonds & Rust on the PA system when he was introduced, I missed it.

I snapped a few photos at the park but none came out as anything interesting. Here's a routine shot of Josh Ockimey striking out against Wings starter Sharp in the fourth inning.




Featured Video


Recommended Comments

16 hours ago, sampleSizeOfOne said:

Thanks for the post!


Does that mean PoSox are no longer?


Man, i'm no good at following news...

The PawSox left Pawtucket and venerable and widely despised McCoy Stadium.  As you know, I have fonder memories of the place.

The Southern New England chapter of SABR is based in Providence, and I can tell you from talking with those folks that there are very hard feelings down there. Chances are that not many Rhode Islanders will make the drive up Route 146 to see their team in new unis.

Link to comment
On 6/4/2021 at 10:02 PM, Vanimal46 said:

Very cool! Anything else that’s worth noting about the ballpark itself after further review? 

There is construction still going on, so that will color my view, for instance of the walk from the train station to the park, because we had to take a roundabout route that I expect will be nicer eventually.  (A ten-minute walk from our condo to the train station, then a ten minute walk from grand old Union Station in Worcester to the ballpark, was impossible for us to resist - any baseball fan living along that railway line from downtown Boston to points west should make the trek at least once.)

Here's a photo out toward left field, which I took because a train was going past the ballpark, reminiscent of when I would watch the St Paul Saints play in the 90s.  It's a bit fuzzy (I blame the pervasive netting in the foreground) and you can't really tell that what you see is a train unless I tell you, so I didn't bother to post it originally, but in it you can also see that a structure is under construction just beyond the left field wall, that will eventually be an office building with retail on the first floor that fans may be using pre-game for buying popcorn or whatever.


Here is another blurry shot, that gives a little different view of that side.


And here is another blurry one, intended to show the bad score-in-progress (it got worse, the score not the blurriness I mean), which gives an idea on the other side of the park down the right field line.  Unfortunately I didn't frame it to show the "309" marking of distance down the line.  The high wall helps some, but the home runs still felt cheap to me. (Major league parks built after the expansion era are required to be at least 325 down the line, and I thought MLB had instituted better standards for minor league parks resulting in some cities losing their teams, but apparently 309 is A-OK with them.  Don't trust minor-league stats in this regard.)


All in all the park is a work-in-progress and maybe the story will be more inviting in various ways a year from now.  Both inside the park, and also in the surrounding neighborhood - Worcester is an interesting economic story and I hope this is one part of a renaissance for them - having a vibrant after-game atmosphere would be tremendous.  Oh, one thing I noticed was a smattering of uniformed police officers along our walking route, indicative of something or other I suppose - rent-a-cops are commonplace near a minor league park but these seemed to be the real thing.

It's a nice modern ballpark, with seats much more comfortable than the ones at Fenway, but I'm not sure if they have the infrastructure to serve a full house of fans quite yet. They had the usual assortment of minor-league events going on between innings - kids doing baseball-themed races in foul territory, t-shirt giveaways thrown to the crowd, and so forth.  This was the first week of unrestricted crowd size, so they are surely feeling their way still.  I don't know if they have specially themed nights planned, but there wasn't a theme for our game.  (The defunct Lowell Spinners of low-A used to have a theme pretty much every game, by contrast.)

Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...