Worcester Red Sox owners want Polar Park to feature a high-tech fan experience in 2021 – MassLive.com | Innovation
The images on display at Friday’s announcement that the Pawtucket Red Sox are relocating to Worcester, look like a classic old-time ballpark. It has a brick exterior, exposed steel beams and the hotel behind left field even calls to mind Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
But when Larry Lucchino, the Pawtucket Red Sox chairmen, who’ll fill the same role in Worcester, talked about the park, he stressed the word “innovative” when describing what he expected Polar Park to be when it opens in 2021.
Lucchino said members of the PawSox have already had discussions with Worcester Polytechnic Institute faculty about ways to make Polar Park a cutting edge facility.
“We want this to be state of the art in respect to high technology,” Lucchino said. “The design process is just beginning. We’ve been working with WPI in Worcester already because they have an interest in this kind of thing. We’ll see what kind of ideas they have.”
The park design will reunite Lucchino, Pawtucket Red Sox President Dr. Charles Steinberg and architect Janet Marie Smith, who worked together to build Camden Yards, and Petco Park in San Diego and redesign Fenway Park. The field dimensions will mirror those of Fenway, to aid in player development, but the overall park will be unique.
Steinberg said they’ll adopt a similar process to what they did in previous spots and invite fans into the process. In Baltimore they were Fan Plans. In San Diego they were California Dreaming sessions. Catchy name for Worcester is still to be determined.
“When we built Camden Yards, we led the league in women’s restrooms. We had more restrooms, larger restrooms, cleaner restrooms, a shelf for your purse because we listened to the fans,” Steinberg said. “When we were just beginning to think about what became Oriole Park at Camden Yards, one of the themes we talked about was taking yourself through the entire fan experience.”
Steinberg laid out a possible scenario in the near future.
“You can buy your ticket online now. You can print them at home or have it on your phone like an airline ticket. What if you go like this on your phone (pantomiming pressing buttons) and it reserves your parking space for you, tells you where it is and and tells you the route to your specific space like MapQuest. Now you park your car. We knew you were coming. Mom with her 6-year-old and 8-year-old are getting out of the car, there is an ambassador of the club waiting to welcome you and give the kids treats. Now you’re enhancing the fan experience.”
“You have someone 75 or 92 years old. What’s the best way for them to have a wonderful experience,” Steinberg continued. “You take these human experiences and see what is the technological visions that are on the drawing board now. Can you hit a button and your nachos pop up from the floor underneath. These are the things you can explore. It’s a terrifically creative time. The technology goes hand in hand.”