With the announcement by Minor league baseball late this afternoon that the 2020 minor league season will be canceled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we already may have seen the final game of the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium.
Starting in 2021, the Pawtucket Red Sox are going to be moving to Worcester, Massachusetts to become the Woo Sox. That would have made 2020 the 50th and final season for the Paw Sox at McCoy Stadium.
“We continue to speak with the Mayor of Pawtucket, the Hon. Donald R. Grebien, and other public officials, about the uses this summer-and beyond-of McCoy Stadium. So many high school and college players have loved playing on this field through the years, and we will see if there is a way to continue to provide that opportunity” said club president Dr. Charles Steinberg.
While right now the construction of Polar Park is still scheduled to be finished by opening day 2020, any more construction delays could delay the opening of the ballpark. If that were to happen, that could lead to the Paw Sox opening up the 2021 season at McCoy Stadium, assuming the city of Pawtucket allows this to happen. Another option would be that the team would play home games on the road until Polar Park would be open for games. This is similar to what the Hartford Yard Goats did during the 2016 season when their now home ball park, Dunkin Donuts Park faced a lot of construction delays.
While that scenario is possible, it is unlikely at the moment. But in today’s world, a lot could change over the next 9 months. But if the 2021 season were to begin with the Paw Sox playing at Polar Park, we would have already seen the final Pawtucket Red Sox game at McCoy Stadium.
If we already saw the final game at McCoy Stadium, I wanted to take a look back at the final game of the 2019 season at McCoy Stadium.
The Final Game Of The 2019 Season
The Pawtucket Red Sox closed out the 2019 season At McCoy Stadium with a 1:05pm first pitch against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Teddy Stankiewicz took the mound for the Paw Sox on the afternoon, and he was up against Damon Jones for the Iron Pigs.
It was a warm, overcast afternoon at McCoy Stadium. But it was a comfortable Labor Day at the old ballpark. The first few innings went by pretty quickly. It seemed like a pretty average Paw Sox game on the season. Teddy Stankiewicz had a pretty good start for the Paw Sox, going four scoreless innings. In fact, until the final pitch of the game, the start for Stankiewicz was the story of the afternoon. With the four scoreless innings from Stankiewicz, he actually took the team lead of ERA on the afternoon.
Well in the fifth inning of the game, the Paw Sox had a 1 to 0 lead, Paw Sox outfielder Cole Sturgeon hit his 8th home run of the season to give the Paw Sox a 2 to 0 lead.
With the Paw Sox leading 2 to 1 in the top of the eighth inning, Bobby Poyner gave up a two run home run to Rob Brantly to give the Iron Pigs a 3 to 2 lead. That lead didn’t last long as Cole Sturgeon came up big again with another home run to tie the game at 3.
The game went into the tenth inning, and in the top of the inning, Raul Rivas hit an RBI single off of Domingo Tapia to give the Iron Pigs a 4 to 3 lead.
From my stand point, I thought the game was over. All season, the Paw Sox were unable to come back from deficits like that late in the game. We almost never saw the Paw Sox come back. In the game story I wrote, I had the headline being Teddy Stankiewicz took the ERA lead for the team on the afternoon. Going into the bottom of the tenth inning, I actually had my game story completed. Then with two outs in the inning, I was ready to hit publish on my story. That’s when Cole Sturgeon hit a walk-off two run home run. It was his third home run of the day and tenth on the season.
Once that was hit out of the ballpark, I had to quickly change my story. I personally learned an important lesson at that moment. Don’t jinx the baseball gods.
What If It Was The Final Paw Sox game At McCoy Stadium
If this was the final game at McCoy Stadium, it was one hell of a way to end close out McCoy Stadium. A 5 to 4 Paw Sox win in 10 innings that ended with a two run walk off home run. At the time, I thought it was the best game of the season for the Paw Sox. Now we are sitting here looking at it as the final game at McCoy Stadium.
For many Rhode Islanders, including myself, we wanted to look at 2020 as the final season of games at McCoy Stadium. We wanted to head to the ballpark for one more game. Enjoy the final days of professional baseball in Rhode Island. Now we can only hope that we will have the chance to watch another game at McCoy Stadium. But right now, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. If we don’t, we definitely saw a great finish at McCoy Stadium. I personally just wish I knew it was the final game before it happened.