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Family-Friendly McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI, Offers Major League Fun with the Minor League Pawtucket Red Sox

by Eric H.

If you long for the old days of going to a ballpark where prices are low, the spirit high and the chance to have fun undeniable, then consider a visit to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI,  as part of your New England travel.

Home to the Boston Red Sox' Triple A minor league affiliate Pawtucket Red Sox, McCoy Stadium resides in a gritty area of Pawtucket.  The ride through this mid-sized city does not exactly remind one of, say, Cape Cod, but once you're at the stadium, the feeling of being in a family-friendly baseball oasis resonates like the wallop of a home run.

The free parking is a breeze if you get there early enough, thanks to the large lot surrounding the ballpark. Your good mood can be sustained upon approaching the ticket booth (better yet, reserve to ensure getting a ticket) where box seats cost $11.00, general admission $7.00 and senior citizen and children's tickets (ages 12 and under) $5.00. Therefore, there is no need to contact your mortgage company to get a loan to watch a baseball game.

Better yet is the inside where the 1998-99 renovations (the ballpark was originally built in 1941) have created a spacious, family, fan friendly masterpiece where the 10, 031 seating capacity provides comfort and good views, easy access to the modern concession stands and get this, clean restroom facilities. The outfield fences go no more than 375 ft., thus creating an intimate, watchable setting. The efforts put into making McCoy Stadium a world-class place to watch minor league baseball was confirmed by the record-breaking 688,421 fans who attended this perfectly manicured baseball ballpark during the 2005 season.

The glory of watching players generally try their best -- because they want to make it to the majors -- makes for a modern day revelation in a greedy, it's-all-about-the-money player-agent mentality that many times impedes the major leagues and hurts the fan's pocketbook. On the contrary, McCoy Stadium makes you feel right at home because the emphasis is on baseball. Imagine that!

The spirit of minor league baseball does seem at its apex at McCoy Stadium because the layout is well thought out, good security watches out for any bad fan elements, and that the food is above average, as much as hot dogs, popcorn and other beloved American food and drinks can be. Further enhancing the experience centers on the parent Boston Red Sox' recent vision -- under the guidance of General Manager Theo Epstein -- to build up the farm system. Unbeknown to former Red Sox generations who had to watch slow, white first baseball and injury prone outfielders promoted as prospects, this era can watch some of the best prospects in all of minor league baseball. This new era includes Boston Red Sox stars infielders Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and pitchers Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon.

Family nights with different themes abound at McCoy Stadium, and the gift shop is modern, well laid out with reasonably priced merchandise. The great city of Providence is minutes away, providing great after game activities or dining, particularly a trip to the colorful Italian Federal Hill to grab some of the best pizza in New England (Sicilia's is the best choice here).

McCoy Stadium makes for a wonderful family event, proving old-fashioned ways combined with modern amenities brings the best of both worlds to baseball fans searching for the purity of America's Pastime. It is right here at McCoy Stadium, a New England baseball landmark and a great American ballpark.

Pawtucket Red Sox, Ben Monor Way, Pawtucket, R.I. Tel. 401/724-7300.

Related articles: The magic of Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox

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