The Worcester Bravehearts are kicking off their 5th season with a World Series Champion when Bronson Arroyo visits Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field on Saturday, April 21st. The team’s annual Fan Fest and Spree Day will celebrate Worcester’s nine youth baseball and softball leagues with an opening day parade on Fitton Ave. led by the former Red Sox pitcher. The College of the Holy Cross, Creedon and Co., the MA Office of Economic Empowerment, and Bay State Savings Bank are partners in this year’s event.
Arroyo, who played on four teams in his Major League Baseball career, is best-known in these parts for his three seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 2003 - 2005. He was a member of the 2004 World Champions and had a memorable appearance in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees that year when Alex Rodriguez famously slapped the ball out of his glove in a controversial tag play at first base. Arroyo went on to play nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds — making the All Star team in 2006 and winning a Gold Glove in 2010 — and one season with the Arizona Diamondbacks before retiring last season. He is also a well-known musician and released his debut album, Covering the Bases, in 2005. In his appearance at Fan Fest, he will address the Little League teams on the field and will also sign autographs and pose for photos with fans.
“This Fan Fest and Spree Day is a spirited way our team can honor the kids and parents who keep youth baseball and softball so vibrant in our city,” said General Manager Dave Peterson. “I was inspired to see all of the kids and coaches lining the infield for opening ceremonies last year, and I think the turnout this year will be even better. I’ve met Bronson once before and found him to be personable and energetic, so I think everyone will have a blast with him on April 21st. ”
The opening day parade on Fitton Avenue is expected to begin at 9:00 AM and will ultimately lead youngsters onto Fitton Field for league introductions and the National Anthem. Hank Stolz of Unity Radio will serve as Master of Ceremonies with opening day remarks from Mayor Joe Petty and District 4 Administrator Linda McGill before Bronson Arroyo pumps up the crowd with his pep talk. The event is open to the general public beginning at 10:00, with Bravehearts’ single game tickets and merchandise going on sale as well as free autographs with Bronson Arroyo as soon as he is done speaking with the Little League players on the field.
Fan Fest also features free hot dogs, popcorn, and lemonade to the first 1,000 guests in attendance. Plus, fans have a chance to “Swing for Your Seat” in the afternoon — a promotion that allows fans to attempt to hit a home run in batting practice for a free Bravehearts season ticket this summer.
A scavenger hunt in the stadium is an annual staple at Fan Fest, and this year is no different. The MA Office of Economic Empowerment will roll out its $eedMA Program with a giant piggy bank scavenger hunt in the seats. The program is designed to help families invest in their child’s higher education through a 529 college savings plan, and it has already launched in schools such as Rice Square, Vernon Hill, and Union Hill in Worcester.
The entire event is sponsored by Bay State Savings Bank, an independent community bank in Worcester.
“Bay State Savings Bank is a proud supporter of the Worcester Bravehearts and excited about the start of another year of Little League baseball in the City,” said Diane Giampa, Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Marketing at Bay State Savings Bank. “As the only Mutual Savings Bank headquartered in Worcester, we are committed to supporting those organizations and initiatives that improve our community. Good luck everyone, and Play Ball!”
Bravehearts single-game tickets are first available at the Fan Fest & Spree Day to adults in the Premium Box level for $10, in the Box level for $9, and in the Grandstand for $8. Tickets for senior citizens and children under 12 are $8, $7, and $6 respectively. Fans will also save $1 on each ticket by purchasing them at Fan Fest or by phone at 508-438-3773 in advance of each game. Fans who hold Bravehearts’ Flex vouchers or gift certificates for tickets may also begin exchanging them for actual seats beginning Saturday the 21st at 10:00 AM. All exchanges must be made in person or over the phone.