BOSTON (CBS) – Full disclosure: I am a Rhode Islander.
I was born, raised and educated (debatable) in the Ocean State, a place that I still call home.READ MORE: 'Unfortunate that it came to this,' Brookline school teachers go on strike
We have a close proximity to Boston and New York, and therefore share a long list of characteristics with those regions. But there are very few things in this world that are uniquely Rhode Island, which is why we get so mad when you say “Rhode Island? You mean Long Island?” or “Del’s Lemonade is just Italian Ice” or “What is coffee milk?”
And we get particularly upset when local institutions close up shop (see Rocky Point).
The Pawtucket Red Sox now fall into that Endangered Species category, as new owners of the team will look to move elsewhere if their wish for a new stadium in downtown Providence is not met. This new waterfront ballpark promises to be an economic boon for the city and state, but residents have seen this song and dance before, and are understandably leery of another baseball-centric endeavor.
(Curt Schilling’s video game actually received great reviews, but thinking a man with no business experience could somehow turn Providence into a gaming hub was the worst Red Sox blunder since Bill Buckner.)
As somebody who’s been paying close attention to this drama unfold, I was curious to see the condition of McCoy Stadium when a friend of mine offered up an extra ticket on Saturday night.
New PawSox owners insist McCoy is outdated and in need of major renovations, but the reality? It’s fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of fans — more importantly, families — in attendance, on tickets that were affordable and easily acquirable.READ MORE: Bobcat breaks into Vermont home, attacks elderly man inside
Oh, and the parking? $10 or less in the surrounding area, and free if you’re savvy enough to find a spot.
In any business endeavor you must weigh the cost vs. benefit analysis, and for Rhode Island, the numbers just don’t add up.
McCoy Stadium is a more-than-adequate Triple-A baseball stadium.
I admit, though, that the artist renderings for the waterfront stadium in Providence look pretty cool. And while the prospect of attending PawSox games, music festivals and other events in the heart of the city would be intriguing, it’s also wholly unnecessary.
If PawSox owner Larry Lucchino, who’s taken the reigns since the abrupt passing of James Skeffington, comes back to Rhode Island with a deal saying he’ll front all the money and take on all the risk, I think most residents would sign up for that.
But the deal as constituted, reportedly about $120 million in public aid over 30 years, is doubly Awful for Little Rhody, especially considering these taxpayer-funded stadiums are rarely worth the investment.MORE NEWS: New England Living: Broomstones curling club in Wayland