Major League Baseball is going to embark on a new chapter of overseas baseball on Saturday, June 28th and Sunday the 29th when the 2019 London Series kicks off. The 2019 London Series will be a two-game series between the 2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and the current American League East-leading New York Yankees. The MLB has partnered with Mitel to bring the 2019 London Series to life and turn it into a multi-year event.
The Red Sox and Yankees have quite the rivalry history, the AL East rivals have spent years battling each other. Both of these clubs fanbases have bitter hatreds towards each other which will make for a great atmosphere for the 2019 London Series. Having two teams who are battling in the same division, two teams who are bitter rivals, and two teams who are not playing “meaningless” games should be great for the crowd in London. Currently, the Yankees lead the AL East with a 52-28 record and have been on a tear lately, finally getting some of their injured players back. The Red Sox are 44-38 sitting in third in the AL East fighting to get back to the top and ahead of the second place Tampa Bay Rays.
This series will come at a time where the Yankees are really clicking, after making a trade to acquire Edwin Encarnación from the Mariners they have been unstoppable offensively. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have been sorting things out and trying to get back on track, stay healthy and play solid baseball as they are known for, being reigning world champs. The 2019 London Series should be a great battleground for these two ballclubs to get the chance to take this rivalry overseas and for the Yankees to increase their divisional lead, or let the Red Sox climb back into the race.
The 2019 London Series will take place at London Stadium which is home of West Ham United which is a Premier League Soccer club. This stadium is also the place where the 2012 Olympic games took place. The question begs to be asked, how is baseball going to be played on a soccer field? The transformation has begun and London Stadium is becoming a baseball field.
With plenty of hard work, London Stadium is being constructed to become a baseball field with plenty of fencing, the addition of foul poles, and construction of clubhouses and dugouts. The field also requires the addition of a backstop, batter’s eye, and batting cages for everything to really take shape and become a playable big league ball field.
The atmosphere of this series should be great, looking at what Mitel and Major League Baseball has done, this is more than just two baseball games. To celebrate the 2019 London Series, the Truman Brewery will become host to a three-day celebration of baseball overseas. There will be more attractions like pitching and hitting challenges for those who want to test their abilities.
If fans are not looking for physical attractions, there is also going to be plenty of live musical acts and plenty of food and beverages. There is plenty of attractions which should make for a great weekend of celebrating baseball’s travel across the ocean for the 2019 London Series.
On Saturday, game one will begin at 6:10 pm (All times are in British Summer Time; BST) but gates will open at 2:00 pm to allow fans to get an all-day experience if they desire. This schedule allows fans to witness warmups and batting practices for both the Yankees and Red Sox, and catch a pre-game ceremony at 5:30 pm as well.
On Sunday, it’s more of the same, the game takes place at 3:10 pm but gates will open at 11:10 am for fans. Just as game one, there will be a chance to witness pre-game warmups and batting practice as well as a pre-game ceremony.
For fans who are not able to attend the games, there are plenty of ways to watch both of the games. Fans in the United Kingdom should tune-in to BT Sport or BBC iPlayer for those viewing it digitally. The fans who remain in the United States can catch the game on the national coverage on FOX. Besides television, Yankees and Red Sox fans can catch the game on their respective radio feeds or ESPN radio.
With this series being overseas, in a different time zone and bringing some challenges, both teams will need to make sure preparation is sound. The Red Sox have decided to take matters quite seriously, manager Alex Cora has called a team meeting and spent three hours prior to a game where he hammered away details. These two games are not just “meaningless” or “exploratory”, this is business as usual in terms of competition they are not exhibition games and Cora made sure he made that very clear to his club.
The Yankees have not publicly announced a team meeting or anything of that nature regarding the 2019 London Series. This should not be taken for granted, the Yankees will show up and be every bit as ready to play, especially against their rival. When it comes to traveling, both teams headed out two days early to acclimate to the time zone as well as stay two days after before they depart.