The simple – but not entirely inaccurate – thing would be to lay the Pawtucket Red Sox leaving Rhode Island on the doorstep of House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello.
As a timeline of events reveals, the deal negotiated between the team, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and members of Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s economic team was done in May 2017 and was introduced to the General Assembly in late June. The team had committed itself to negotiate exclusively with Rhode Island up until July 1, so by delaying hearings on the bill until the fall, the state opened the door for the PawSox to find a better deal.
Still, amended legislation, which the team said it was encouraged by, was passed in the Senate in January. But Speaker Mattiello would not introduce it in the House until he had a chance to put his stamp on it as well. And it is clear now that that stamp meant the deal was destined to fail, because with the window of exclusivity over, Rhode Island was going to have to compete with a better resourced – and less dysfunctional – state.
The truth is that we saw this outcome coming. In a Nov. 3, 2017 editorial, PBN called out Gov. Raimondo for her half-hearted and delayed support for keeping the PawSox in Rhode Island, while Speaker Mattiello was rightfully criticized for comparing the PawSox deal with the 38 Studios disaster. “His lack of vision will not seem so insightful when the Worcester Red Sox have their first Opening Day in the not-too-distant future,” PBN said.
There is no comfort in having accurately made the call on this sad eventuality.