WORCESTER (CBS) – The Worcester Red Sox celebrated their home opener at the brand new Polar Park on Tuesday afternoon. It was a star-studded affair as James Taylor and his son Henry performed the National Anthem and helicopters flew over the park.
WooSox owner Larry Lucchino and ballpark designer Janet Marie Smith took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony. Lucchino helped move the Red Sox Triple-A franchise to Worcester from its longtime home in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.READ MORE: 'Vax Express' Commuter Rail Train Bringing Shots To Communities With Low COVID Vaccination Rates
The city helped with the $160 million stadium, but $200 million in private investment around the ballpark is key to revitalizing the Canal District.
Nearby pubs haven’t seen a Tuesday like this for a long time, quickly hitting their capacity limits.
“Today we’re running around, we’re sweating like we used to,” said Colleen Sweet of The Banner Bar and Grille. “It feels really good to be back to doing the thing that we really love.”
Inside the socially distanced Polar Park, the homers were flying, but the game on the field seemed almost secondary as many fans just took the nickel tour.
“Better than I expected it to be, and I expected it to be amazing,” one woman said.READ MORE: Major Water Main Break Sends Water Gushing Into Street In Boston's Financial District
“Worcester doesn’t have enough things that it’s known for, this is something that is going to bring people to Worcester,” a man said.
A mother from Paxton said the outing was very family friendly. “It’s very accessible and it’s definitely reasonably priced, so we could take our family here for sure,” she said.
The first pitch featured Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and former Red Sox players Pedro Martinez, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Jim Lonborg and Worcester native Rich Gedman.
Celtics and Holy Cross legend Bob Cousy announced “play ball” to get things officially underway.
The game featured six home runs and the WooSox beat the Syracuse Mets 8-5.MORE NEWS: UMass Lowell Closed For Second Straight Day Due To 'Possible Cybersecurity Incident'
There was a sellout crowd of almost 2,400 people due to COVID-19 restrictions.