The Pawtucket Red Sox begin their 2018 home season with an Opening Weekend, Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 8, against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Opening Night, at 7:05 p.m., will feature the first in a series of special free gifts for fans every Friday. Saturday and Sunday afternoon games at 1:35 p.m. complete the weekend, which starts a six-game homestand and a 140-game season in the International League.
In addition to introducing high-quality free gifts on Friday nights, the PawSox will again present fireworks after every Saturday night home game, pending all approvals. The PawSox in 2017 sold out more than twice as many games as the year before (11 to 5), including six of the last seven Saturday nights.
The club will also continue the tradition of celebrating Independence Day with Patriotic Fireworks Spectaculars after games on Monday, July 2 and Tuesday, July 3, both of which begin at 6:15 p.m. The full promotional calendar will be announced later in the autumn.
The release of the schedule launches the sale of PawSox 2018 Season Tickets, Group Tickets, and Mini-Plans. Fans can visit pawsox.com or call (401) 724-7300. The first opportunity to acquire tickets to single games will be announced in the future.
“It was gratifying to see a rise in attendance this past year that featured so many children,” said PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg. “Many parents told us that the reliability of fireworks, the desirability of quality gifts, and tickets as low as $6 and $9 contributed to our sell-outs.”
Friday games will begin at 7:05 p.m., Saturday night games will begin at 6:15 p.m., and Sunday afternoon games will begin at 1:35 p.m. The second game of the season, April 7, is the lone Saturday afternoon game (1:35 p.m.). The penultimate game of the season, Sunday, September 2, featuring a Labor Day Weekend Fireworks Spectacular, is the lone Sunday night game (6:15 p.m.).
Weeknight home games (Monday-Thursday) from April through the All-Star break will begin at 6:15 p.m. Starting July 12 and thereafter, such games will begin at 7:05 p.m. The regular season finale, a Labor Day Matinee at 1:35 p.m., is the lone exception.
The PawSox will also play seven weekday afternoon games, starting with the Opening Week finale, Wednesday, April 11, at 12:05 p.m. The club will host three matinees at 12:05 pm and four at 11:05 am.
The Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, play 11 games in Pawtucket, more than any other club. The rivals of the Red Sox visit for two series in May, one in July, and a season-ending series in September.
The International League and the Pacific Coast League, which together constitute Triple-A Baseball, reduced the number of games for the second straight season to provide more days off for players. The leagues played 144 games for 19 years (1998-2016), then 142 games in 2017, and they are slated to play 140 (70 home and 70 away) in 2018.
The PawSox have been the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox for 46 consecutive years (starting 1973). Their affiliation is the longest in the International League and the second-longest in Triple-A Baseball (behind the PCL Omaha Storm Chasers, who have been the affiliate of the Kansas City Royals since the major league club’s inception in 1969). The PawSox’ affiliation with the Red Sox is the fourth longest in all of Minor League Baseball.
The 2018 season will also mark the 77th year of McCoy Stadium, which opened in 1942; it is by far (46 years) the oldest ballpark in the International League, and it is the oldest ballpark (by 17 years) in all of Triple-A Baseball.
The PawSox, who did not play any 2-game series in 2017, will have six 2-game sets this year (3 home & 3 away), they will play 28 3-game series (16 home & 12 away), and 11 4-game sets (4 home & 7 away).
Pawtucket will play one 8-game homestand (May 21-28), one 7-game homestand, and five 6-game homestands. They will embark on six different 7-game roadtrips which will all equal their season-long sojourns.
Pawtucket‘s home schedule consists of 49 night games and 21 day games with the following breakdown by month: April (13), May (15), June (12), July (15), August (13), and September (2).
In addition to the Yankees’ affiliate, other American League East affiliates include the Baltimore Orioles’ Norfolk Tides, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Durham Bulls, and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Buffalo Bisons.
Other American League affiliates include the Chicago White Sox’ Charlotte Knights, the Cleveland Indians’ Columbus Clippers, the Detroit Tigers’ Toledo Mud Hens, and the Minnesota Twins’ Rochester Red Wings.
National League affiliates include the Atlanta Braves’ Gwinnett Braves, the Cincinnati Reds’ Louisville Bats, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Indianapolis Indians, and the Washington Nationals’ Syracuse Chiefs.
The PawSox are among six clubs in the International League’s North Division, together with Buffalo, LehighValley, Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Syracuse. The West Division includes Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Toledo. The South Division includes Charlotte, Durham, Gwinnett, and Norfolk.
The IL Playoffs will take place from September 5-15, with the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game on September 18 in Columbus, OH. All 14 International League teams are back in the same divisional set-up as last year with the same Major League affiliations.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.