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Minor League Baseball Announces 2021 CommUNITY Champion WooSox Capture Coveted Award from MiLB

December 6, 2021

NEW YORK CITY, Dec. 6, 2021 — Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) today announced the Worcester Red Sox as their 2021 CommUNITY Champion Award winner. Nominees from each league were selected by their peers and were candidates for the overall award.

NEW YORK CITY, Dec. 6, 2021 Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) today announced the Worcester Red Sox as their 2021 CommUNITY Champion Award winner. Nominees from each league were selected by their peers and were candidates for the overall award.

(Left to Right) Dan Rea, WooSox Executive VP & GM, team President Dr. Charles Steinberg, and Brooke Cooper, Vice President Marketing, after the WooSox received Minor League Baseball’s CommUNITY Champion Award during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL.

CommUNITY Champion Award – Worcester Red Sox (Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox)

In their inaugural season in Worcester, the Worcester Red Sox took every opportunity available to become a valued member of their new community. Whether they were hosting baseball clinics for children, building awareness for charities or providing scholarship opportunities, the WooSox always went above and beyond.

Since the announcement in August 2018 that the Worcester Red Sox were moving to Polar Park, the valuable perspective of fans and community leaders has been instrumental in shaping the franchise’s goals and values. The WooSox show their appreciation for those in their community on a nightly basis, using pregame ceremonies like “Hometown Hero,” “Heart of Worcester” and the ceremonial first pitch to recognize and honor the contributions of community leaders and unsung heroes.

Their nightly “In Debt to a Vet” promotion honors the sacrifice and bravery of local veterans, and all fans are invited onto the playing field following Saturday and Sunday games to enjoy the Polar Park experience with a game of catch or running the bases with friends and family.

In celebration of the diverse identities and cultures of the City of Worcester, the team introduced “Los Wepas de Worcester” in 2021 and highlighted a different Spanish-speaking country in each of the Copa de la Diversion games. From Mexico to Puerto Rico to El Salvador, Polar Park transformed into a hub of that country’s local culture, music and food during “Los Wepas” games. Hispanic and Latinx leaders were honored in pregame ceremonies, the national anthem of the featured country was performed, local vendors were invited to sell their food at concession stands and the on-field “Worcester Red Sox” jerseys were replaced by “Los Wepas de Worcester” jerseys, with “Wepas” being a Spanish expression of excitement.

In an effort to strengthen the organization’s spirit of empathy and inclusion and create a clearer understanding of how they can make baseball more inclusive and celebratory of differences, the club played host to several events throughout the season. In July, the WooSox hosted “Autism Acceptance Night,” where the volume of public address announcements and music was turned down across the ballpark to reduce stimulation and highlighted Polar Park’s Unum Sensory Room, which offers a quiet space for fans to take a break on the comfortable couches, borrow noise-reduction headphones and play with kinetic sand, fidget spinners and coloring books. In August, “Peanut Allergy-Friendly Nights” were introduced to allow a safe, stress-free experience for fans with peanut allergies to enjoy a game at Polar Park, and in September “Deaf Awareness Night” included an interpreter on the videoboard to communicate pregame ceremonies, in-game promotions and PA announcements.

The WooSox took advantage of the extended season by supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and “Going Gold” in September 2021. The WooSox put the spotlight on children, families and heroes who are helping to conquer cancer. Dressed in gold, children and families in the battle as well as their nurses and doctors gathered in center field in the shape of a ribbon as fans raised gold signs from the stands to honor loved ones who are currently in, or have lost, their battle with cancer. In their inaugural season, the team and the WooSox Foundation collectively donated over $50,000 to UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, which works to treat and cure cancer and provide resources and comfort.

The WooSox Foundation also launched the “WooSox Scholars” Program to provide college scholarships to ensure young students’ dreams of education are funded. In July 2021, four Worcester Public Schools eighth graders stepped onto the field in front of a crowd of cheering fans and were presented with various gifts from the team and a certificate honoring their achievement. The WooSox have already invested $40,000 into the college funds of local students in just one season.

The WooSox introduced the “WooSox Book Nook” in the Worcester Public Library — a collection of baseball-themed books donated by WooSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg and WooSox Chairman of the Board Larry Lucchino. The Book Nook provides young readers a chance to learn the history of baseball and the power of sports in community while developing their reading skills.

“We are so happy, so proud, and so grateful to so many for recognizing the special bond between the Worcester Red Sox and the Greater Worcester community,” said Worcester Red Sox President Dr. Charles A. Steinberg. “Larry Lucchino has established charitable foundations with every franchise he has led, and he has committed that we would be active participants in the community; we are thrilled to honor that commitment. In particular, our thanks go to the leaders and the residents of ‘The Heart of the Commonwealth.’ Their compassion and excitement inspire these synergistic collaborations. May this year, our rookie year, only be the beginning.”