Sports

Ballpark Showdown: McCoy vs. Fenway

McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket RI Photo courtesy: Pawtucket Red Sox 20familyguy
McCoy Stadium is home to the Pawtucket Red Sox. PAWTUCKET RED SOX

Fenway is known as America’s most beloved ballpark, as it should be. It’s steeped in tradition and glory and has been home to The Boston Red Sox since 1912. I love going to Fenway Park. You love going to Fenway Park. We all love going to Fenway Park.

But, it’s not the only game in town. Just forty-five miles south of Boston, McCoy Stadium – home to the Pawtucket Red Sox—is giving Fenway a run for its money. No park can ever outshine Fenway, but McCoy might the choice for your next baseball fix.

Not sure which park is a better fit for you? Let’s see how they stack up.

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Location, location, location

Fenway Park is in Boston. McCoy Stadium is in Pawtucket, RI. Your gut reaction might be that Fenway is more convenient for Boston residents. Until you think about it for a bit. Whether you’re driving or taking the T, getting to Fenway can be a bit of a nightmare. So yes—it make take a little longer to get to Pawtucket, but the ride isn’t all that stressful.

Advantage: Fenway, but barely.

Parking

Parking around Fenway isn’t just insanely expensive, it can also be pretty difficult to find. If you don’t have a parking hook-up, you shouldn’t even bother. McCoy, on the other hand, has ample free parking. Yes, you read that right—the parking is free. I wanted to kiss the parking attendant when he told me I didn’t have to pay anything, but he didn’t seem into it.

Advantage: McCoy, all day and twice on Sunday.

Food

I will never go to a baseball game and not eat a hot dog. Never. Ever. The Red Sox don’t post the prices of concessions on their website, but at last check a single Fenway Frank ran $5 at the concession stand, and $5.50 if you buy from one in the stands. Pay for a hot dog and a large soda at McCoy with a ten-dollar bill and you’ll get change back. McCoy also has dollar menu Monday nights.

Advantage: McCoy, you can treat yourself to multiple hot dogs, and a pretzel, and ice cream, and a beer or two.

Name recognition

Right about now you might be saying, “what if I want to see players whose names I know?” Well the obvious choice is Fenway, but you never know who you’re going to see in Pawtucket. The week I went to a game, I lucked out and got to see Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks as they both completed rehab stints with the Paw Sox.

Advantage: Fenway, although pretty much every player on the Red Sox will play a game or two in Pawtucket during the course of the season.

Promotions

I don’t know if people go to a baseball game based on a promotion but nothing would surprise me. Both the Red Sox and the Paw Sox have their promotional schedules online (here and here) so you can investigate for yourself.

Advantage: Total judgment call, but personally I have to go with McCoy because Star Wars night is better than country night and Fenway only lets kids run the bases.

Wow factor

Fenway has the Pesky pole, the Ted Williams home run seat, and the Green Monster. McCoy does not. No offense to McCoy. I’m a fan, and it’s charming, but it doesn’t have the lore Fenway does. Come to think of it, most parks don’t.

Advantage: Fenway, by a mile.

For those keeping score—which I’m sure is none of you—that’s three for Fenway, three for McCoy, with a couple of close calls. I can’t recommend enough giving the Paw Sox and McCoy a chance. It’s an incredibly fan friendly stadium and you’ll see some great baseball. And remember, the kids on the field at McCoy are trying to get called up to the show. Catch a game and someday you might be able to say you saw a Cy Young award winner before he made it big. Oh, and if it just so happens to rain or be super chilly, you won’t be racked with guilt for leaving a few innings early. After all, you didn’t mortgage your house to buy the tickets.

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