Major League Baseball comes to London for its first ever regular season games in the UK this month. The Boston Red Sox will face the New York Yankees in England’s capital, bringing one of sport’s greatest rivalries across the Atlantic for two games.
When will it be held?
MLB London will take place on 29th and 30th June. The Saturday game starts at 6:10 pm BST. First pitch of the Sunday will be at 3:10 pm BST.
Where will the MLB London Series be played?
The two games will be played at West Ham’s London Stadium. The venue was built originally for the 2012 London Olympics and has since been used for football and athletics. Grounds like Lord’s and The Oval could have been used.
Has MLB played abroad before?
Yes, lots of times!
MLB first played abroad when the San Diego Padres and New York Mets played a three-game series in Monterrey, Mexico in 1996. The Colorado Rockies and Padres followed with a one-off game in Monterrey three years later.
Games have been played in Japan in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2019 with the Red Sox featuring against the Athletics in 2008 and the Yankees playing the Rays in Tokyo in 2004.
Australia hosted two games between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in 2014 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
There have been six games abroad this season even before the Red Sox and Yankees arrive in London. The Athletics and Seattle Mariners started the season off in Japan, then the Cardinals, Reds, Angels and Astros all played in Mexico.
Is this a one-off?
No, fortunately not! MLB committed to a second series in London, which will be played in the summer of 2020 between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
The two-game set between the National League Central rivals will take place earlier in June (on the 13th and 14th) in 2020, giving fans a chance to see superstars like Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo.
Which players should I look out for?
The Red Sox and Yankees are littered with big-name stars.
Boston have reigning American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts, who will be playing right field. Betts is an exceptional defender with a very strong arm, meaning fans could see him throw runners out from the outfield. He is a home run and stolen base threat.
The other big star in the Red Sox line-up is designated hitter J.D. Martinez. Martinez signed as a free agent just before the 2018 season and enjoyed a brilliant year, hitting 43 home runs and getting the most RBI in baseball.
Judge will play right field like Betts. Stanton will be playing left field.
Judge and Stanton are one of the best power-hitting duos of all-time. The 6’6” Stanton is the smaller of the two, Judge stands at 6’7”, and they are both domineering presences at the plate. Capable of mis-hitting home runs and launching the ball 500-feet, British fans are very lucky to get the chance to see the pair.
Pitching wise, it depends on how the rotations fall. Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale will be a treat if he’s given one of the starts. For the Yankees, it’s all about their hard-throwing lefty closer Aroldis Chapman.