Photo Courtesy: @PolarPark2021
Worcester might now be home to a MINOR league team, but Monday night proved that Worcester is a MAJOR league city. I’m not sure the last time I was happy the weekend was over. Most of us dread Monday mornings, but this one was going to be different. The Worcester Red Sox were holding a rally at city hall Monday night. I never thought those words would ever come out of my mouth. My only challenge was convincing my boss to let me leave work early enough to get my daughters off the school bus and meet my wife on the common. Luckily, my boss knows how obsessed, I mean how much I love the WooSox.
What was going to happen at this rally? The city and team were promoting the event as a “grand and glorious civic celebration”. Many people, including myself, snickered at this idea and thought maybe the powers that be might be over hyping this a bit. Rumors were flying all weekend. We were promised Red Sox Legends. Pedro, Remy, and El Tiante were some of the names being batted about. We were told there would be fireworks choreographed to music and a block party in the Canal District. Could the city and team really pull this off?
Now don’t get me wrong. As Councilor Gary Rosen likes to point out, Worcester did have the great Judith Light on hand back in 1994 to dedicate the Worcester Common Fashion Outlets, but now we are talking about Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and Red Sox Legends. Who could possibly coordinate such an event? That’s right, Worcester now has Dr. Charles Steinberg on their team.
Steinberg was the man behind all of the most memorable pre-game ceremonies in Red Sox history when he was with the Boston Red Sox. The great ring ceremonies, the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, and that emotional ceremony at Fenway after the Boston Marathon bombings, all had Steinberg’s fingerprints on them. This is the guy who would orchestrate the official launch party for the Worcester Red Sox. I’m not sure there could be a better person for the job.
The other question many people had was...Would anyone actually show up? The rally was to be held on at 5 O’Clock on a Monday with only a few days notice. Maybe they could hope for a couple hundred people, but I wouldn’t expect much more than that.
I’ve heard the term “New Worcester” come up in conversations and in print recently. The “New Worcester”, is less self-deprecating, more beautiful, and walks with some swagger. People in this area need to start subscribing to the “New Worcester”. It’s a different mindsight and it’s here to stay. For many years Worcester has been the butt of jokes, gone unnoticed by the Boston media, and it seems like most citizens of the commonwealth can’t even pronounce the name of the city correctly. That was the “Old Worcester”. Slowly, over the past 10 years the city has changed before our eyes and Monday’s rally might just have been the crescendo. The streets were lined with people wearing WooSox hats and shirts. It was a party atmosphere and everyone had a huge Harvey Ball smile on their face. People were proud of their city and now we have a professional sports team to rally around. I have never seen such pride in the city. This is the New Worcester! No longer will locals tell people when they travel that they live in a town 45 miles west of Boston when people ask them where they are from. They’ll say, “I’m from Worcester”, without being given a dirty look.
Monday’s rally was proof that Worcester is ready for the big stage. My family had a blast. From the red carpet to the fireworks, the postcards from the team that were handed out as a thank you in return for the 10,000 postcards they received from future fans. The “Welcome to Worcester” banner unveiled on City Hall that included the names of every person who mailed a postcard to the PawSox to let them know we would love to have them. Everything was first class and well thought out. Oh and people showed up. Thousands of people showed up. It was a night I’ll never forget and dare I say it was “grand and glorious”.