It is being reported that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will be making the trip across the pond in 2019. MLB is nearing sending the two teams to play a two-game series on June 29-30 at London’s Olympic Stadium. The AP reports states: “MLB chose the June window because it is after the Premier League season and before the stadium must be made available for summer track and field events. MLB hopes to make an announcement within the next two months.” Also in the report, Boston will have the option of playing both games as the home team and that the players for both teams will receive an additional $60,000 in compensation as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 66,000 which will fluctuate as to fit a baseball field. Commissioner Rob Manfred has expanded the game outside of the United States as teams have played in Mexico and Puerto Rico last season. There are some things that I do not like from this, but there are some positives along with it. The first issue is the time of the game.
This may fit with the stadium’s abilities to host the game, but not with the MLB regular season. The teams will have to use off days to travel to and from London and take one of America’s greatest rivalries overseas. This is something that will irk some fans that grew up with the rivalry. If the game is overseas, the season-ticket holders will be upset due to less games, especially one of this magnitude.
Another issue that arises is the time zone difference. London is four hours ahead of the east coast of the United States, where the Yankees and Red Sox are located. Fans of the team will have to wake up earlier for a 9:00 a.m. EST game if the game is at 1:00 p.m. in London or lose television ratings for a 3:00 p.m. EST game if London plays at 7:00 p.m. their time. The issue gets worse as you head west of the United States for fans outside of the area.
One positive is obviously the Yankee fans of England can finally witness a Yankees game live and it will be a spectacle. Big winners would be players on rookie contracts, such as Aaron Judge who is making just $622,300 this season, making an additional $60,000 for a two-game series.
If this was pitched as an Opening Day series, maybe I would be more open to it. However, it is set a few weeks before the All-Star break due to scheduling. It will definitely be an experience for the players and fans, but a hassle for those in the States.