WORCESTER — The Worcester Red Sox want to thank their fans in a big way this week.
To wrap up their third season at Polar Park, the WooSox are rolling out a “Super Duper Fan Appreciation Week” from Tuesday to Sunday when the Triple-A club hosts the Syracuse Mets.
“The fervor and support of WooSox fans makes our jobs easier and even more rewarding,” WooSox president Dr. Charles Steinberg said in a press release. “Together, we feel as though we are making Worcester an even better place to live and isn’t that the point? On behalf of our front office, field staff and event staff, we thank you.”
WooSox fans purchased more than 500,000 tickets for a second straight season, the only fans of 120 clubs in Minor League Baseball to do so. This week, the club will provide fans with thousands of giveaways, special food offers and experiences with WooSox players.
Throughout the week, fans will enjoy amenities such as free parking, two-for-one “Cheeseburgers in Paradise,” meeting 2013 World Series champion Will Middlebrooks and receiving Ryan Fitzgerald Bobbleheads. As a finale on Sunday, the WooSox will host a pregame autograph party on the warning track (from 11-11:45 a.m.) to give players an opportunity to thank fans personally.
“Our fans have demonstrated extraordinary support again this year,” WooSox chairman and principal owner Larry Lucchino said. “We really wanted to pull out all the stops to show them how much their relationship means to us. We want this week to be a gigantic ‘thank you’ to the people of this city and this region. We thank them very, very much for their extraordinary display of loyalty.”
Here’s a schedule of all the events at Polar Park this week:
TUESDAY (6:45 P.M.): “FREE PARKING TUESDAY”
Fans can enjoy “Free Parking Tuesday” at three nearby lots. Nearly 1,000 free spaces are available at these locations: 25 Madison Street at Southbridge Street, across from George’s Coney Island Restaurant, (138 spaces); the McGrath Lot at the Worcester Public Library (300+ spaces); and the Union Station Garage (500 spaces). The WooSox are purchasing the parking spaces from the City of Worcester.
During the game, fans can meet former Red Sox player and NESN commentator Steve Lyons in the Sherwood’s Diner in between the third and six innings.
WEDNESDAY (6:45 P.M.): FIRST RESPONDERS & WOOF WOOF WEDNESDAY
Two days prior, the WooSox recognized 9/11 by visiting firefighters, police officers and EMTs to present tickets for the final “First Responder Wednesday” of the season. Also, first responders who present credentials at the Polar Park ticket office on Wednesday will receive four free WooSox Loop tickets for that night. Wednesday night is also the season’s last “Woof Woof Wednesday Night,” and the first 200 fans to bring their dogs will receive a free WooSox dog bandana at the ticket sales table outside the WooSox Market.
THURSDAY (6:45 P.M.): WILL MIDDLEBROOKS AND WOOU COLLEGE NIGHT
On the final “Throwback Thursday,” fans can meet 2013 World Series champion Will Middlebrooks in the Sherwood’s Diner at the Summit Street Fair during innings 3-6 and take photos with the 2013 World Series trophy. For college students, “WooU Night” offers two pre-game panels, 5–5:30 p.m. One features two WooSox players, and the other features front office members, who will discuss career opportunities. Tickets are only $8 for college students.
FRIDAY (6:45 P.M.): FIREWORK FRIDAY
The final UniBank Fireworks show of the season is after the game. The show will be set to a “Love is All You Need” music medley. Before the game, the club will host their “Pride at the Park” celebration, presented by George’s Coney Island, in honor of Pride Month in Worcester.
SATURDAY (4:05 P.M.): RYAN FITZGERALD BOBBLEHEADS
The first 5,000 fans will receive Ryan Fitzgerald Bobbleheads. A “Fitzy Lookalike Contest” post-game will allow selected fans dressed like the popular star to meet him on the field and receive autographed bobbleheads.
SUNDAY (1:05 P.M.): PRE-GAME ON-FIELD AUTOGRAPHS, POST-GAME “SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS” CEREMONY
The WooSox’ home season finale features an 11–11:45 a.m. team autograph party and free team photo posters for all fans. After the game, players will toss autographed soft baseballs to fans, and selected winners will receive “the shirts off their backs” from WooSox players.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON WITH THE WOOSOX?
The Baseball America staff recently rolled out their “2023 Triple-A Minor League Prospects With The Best Scouting Tools” list and a few former and current members of the Triple-A club were mentioned.
Best strike-zone judgment and outfield arm went to Wilyer Abreu. Ceddanne Rafaela was listed as the best defensive outfielder, Nick Sogard the best defensive second baseman and Chad Tracy as the best manager prospect.
As for the play on the field, the WooSox three straight losses heading into Sunday’s contest with Gwinnett dropped them into seventh place overall in the second-half standings.
Despite the slip in the standings, Bobby Dalbec is tied for the league lead with 33 home runs. The last Red Sox Triple-A player to lead the International League in homers was Bryce Brentz in 2017 with 31 for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Dalbec is also attempting to become the first Red Sox Triple-A player with 30 homers and 20 steals in a season. Dalbec currently has 18 stolen bases with 12 games left to play.
Also, David Hamilton leads the league with 54 stolen bases (already a new Red Sox Triple-A record). The last (and only) member of the Red Sox organization to lead the IL in SB was Quintin Berry with 35 in 2015.
— Contact Tommy Cassell at email@example.com. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @tommycassell44.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: WooSox set to host super duper fan appreciation week at Polar Park