Worcester's Polar Park

Polar Park in Worcester is a manageable 98-mile drive from Pittsfield.

WORCESTER — Getting its stadium built and putting the team infrastructure together in Year 1 has been a pretty heavy lift for the staff and management of the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox.

Ultimately, and perhaps sooner than later, the team would like to extend its reach west.

“We’ve got wonderful friends in the 413 and some of our employees drive in from the 413. We would love very much to be at the Big E, to be at Tanglewood, to be right near that little barber shop in Williamstown that says ‘three hours to Fenway Park.’ Maybe it’ll say an hour-and-a-half to Polar Park,” said Red Sox president Dr. Charles Steinberg.

Steinberg is in his fifth year as president of Boston’s Triple-A team, as the team moved from Pawtucket, R.I., to Worcester and a brand new ballpark in Worcester’s Canal District.

“I think it’s a beautiful, friendly little ballpark,” the team president said. “I think it plugs right into a part of the city that was already on the move and has the potential to really help the city go to the next level.”

The 9,508-seat stadium is the newest sports facility in the commonwealth. For Steinberg, who spoke about the park with The Eagle, the project, team and facility have exceeded all their expectations.

“It has been, because of the reaction we’ve gotten from people,” Steinberg said. “The expressions of elation have been the most rewarding aspect of it.”

Here now is one writer’s review of Polar Park.

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The ride from Pittsfield to Worcester on the Turnpike is not usually difficult. There can be construction or accident tie-ups on the Pike, and sometimes traffic just stops for no reason. So give yourself plenty of time.

From the Eagle office to the front door of Polar Park is 98 miles.

Parking isn’t a major issue as there are numerous lots within a short walk. It’s not like parking at Wahconah Park or Joe Wolfe Field, as you’ll have to pay between $5 and $15, depending on how close you want to park. Then again, it’s not the $50-$60 parking cost at Fenway either.

The walk to the front gate features a series of large baseballs with Red Sox legends numbers and autographs on them, and at the gate are replicas of the Red Sox World Series championship rings.

Unlike Fenway, once you enter, you have to go up one level to reach the main concourse that leads to the seating bowl.

The concourse is many things — wide, deep and covered. When it rained Wednesday night, and it rained hard, those who elected to stick around were kept dry by the overhang that supports the DCU Club, the press facilities and the private boxes.

Food options are plentiful, albeit traditional ballpark fare. The WooSox Market, located on the main concourse, has vegetarian, vegan and Kosher items for sale. Some stands take cash, everyone takes credit cards.

As to the park itself, it plays fair. The park is not symmetrical, 330 feet to the left field corner and 320 to right. The power alleys are 399 in left-center and 370 in right-center, and straightaway center is 403.

All Boston Red Sox minor league parks have a monster wall. In Worcester, it’s in right field. Yes, there are three rows of seats on top of the blue monster and there is an electronic scoreboard imbedded in the wall. The Blue Monster isn’t quite as high up as the Green one on Jersey Street, so the view of the field will be somewhat different. On Wednesday before the rain fell, the Monster Seats were packed.

At some point, the berm seats above the left field wall will become as popular as the Monster Seats. Looks like a great place to sit on the grass in the sun and watch some baseball.

Blue is correct. Polar Park is blue from the outside walls to the seats to the outfield walls.

The seats are your typical outdoor stadium seats and there are cupholders for each one. Lots of leg room and again, unlike Fenway, all the seats face the right way.

For the folks upstairs on the suite level, there’s the DCU Club. It’s not as big as the clubs at, say, Citi Field in New York, but it is a very large, open space with a good view of the playing field.

Inside the club, there are numerous displays honoring Boston Red Sox Hall of Famers, the Negro Leagues, and women’s baseball.

The press box, located just off home plate on the third-base side, is more than big enough for a number of Triple-A baseball writers. The broadcast booths are behind home plate. The TV booth is the big one in the middle while the two smaller booths are for radio. Fans in the DCU Club can watch the radio broadcasters at work, as they are separated by glass.

Is Polar Park a good minor league ballpark? Most certainly. Is it worth the trip? Absolutely.

Howard Herman can be reached at  hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253. On Twitter: @howardherman

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.