Lucchino part of group buying Pawtucket Red Sox

New owners hope to move Triple-A club to nearby Providence, build stadium

Lucchino part of group buying Pawtucket Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A 10-person ownership group of New England business leaders -- led by Boston Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino -- has purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox from the franchise's longtime owners Medeleine Mondor, Michael Tamburro and Ludwig Schwechheimer.

The new ownership group confirmed in a news conference Monday that the desire is to move the Triple-A team slightly south to the more urban setting of Providence, R.I., in the near future.

The team will play in Pawtucket through at least 2016. The Red Sox have had their Triple-A team in Pawtucket since 1973, and had a Double-A team there from 1970-72.

Lucchino, whose role with the Red Sox will remain the same, will be a principal owner along with James J. Skeffington. Lucchino will serve as chairman and Skeffington will act as team president. Schwechheimer will act as vice president and general manager, while Tamburro will continue to handle the day-to-day baseball operations. Matthew White will act as chief operating officer.

"We have great nostalgia for Pawtucket," said Skeffington, a Rhode Islander. "But in all honesty, times have changed, ballparks have changed. McCoy [Stadium] is the oldest stadium in Triple-A. Most of the stadiums have been built since 1990, many of them in the last five years."

Skeffington added that his group is looking to build a new stadium along the Providence River, where fans could have easy access through public transit.

"One of the things we're excited about is fans coming to a ballpark in an urban setting and being able to have dinner before or after a game and do some shopping," said Skeffington. "Those are things that people want to do. We want to bring that experience to our fans. They are loyal fans -- terrific fans, and we want to give them all the same things our competitors are offering to their fans."

Another reason for the switch in venue would be the chance to improve the amenities for the players.

"We did some feasibility work on Pawtucket and we have an idea of what it would take to make the necessary improvements there," said Skeffington. "It's very expensive. That's a stadium that's many years old. It doesn't have the amenities that other Triple-A teams are offering their players. We want to give our players an equal chance to develop their talents and exercise and work out and get hydrotherapy when they have injuries.

What happens if the group is unsuccessful in putting the team in Providence?

"Plan B is to cry," quipped Skeffington. "I really want to keep it in Rhode Island. That's my passion, that's my objective. That's Larry's wish as well. We have a long, successful history in Rhode Island. We'd like to preserve that and keep the tradition. Light up Providence at night. I have laser focus on Rhode Island."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.