The Yankees and Red Sox are playing the first MLB games in London this weekend. The two games will take place at London Stadium, which was used for track & field during the 2012 Olympics and is now a soccer stadium.
Here’s the non-Red Sox-related news you may want to know before the weekend:
Starters and Roster Rules
The starters have been announced for this weekend’s two games and are as follows:
Saturday (1 p.m. EDT): Masahiro Tanaka vs. Rick Porcello
Sunday (10 a.m. EDT): Opener (Presumably Chad Green) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez
Yup, the Yankees are bringing the opener to London. It’s 7-0 for the Bombers in the States.
As for the rosters, each team will be allowed a 26th man and will also take a two-man taxi squad in case they need to make a roster change mid-series. With Giancarlo Stanton going on the IL, the Yankees called up Mike Tauchman as their 25th man. Here’s the extra men for both teams.
26th men: INF Thairo Estrada (NYY), 1B/OF Sam Travis (BOS)
Taxi Squad: RHP Chance Adams and C Kyle Higashioka (NYY), COscar Hernandez and RHP Hector Velazquez (BOS)
FYI, both of the 26th men are position players because the teams are only allowed to have 13 pitchers and 13 position players.Embed from Getty Images
How the Field Will Play
OK, so this is where things get a little weird. The stadium wasn’t built with baseball in mind (London was the first Summer Olympics in a while without baseball), so MLB is working with what it could get. The games are happening in June because that was when they had the stadium open during the season with ample time to convert it for baseball.
The walls down the lines are a pretty standard 330 ft. A little too much for this blog (yuck, yuck) but perfectly fine. However, it’ll be just 385 ft to center field. Baseball has tried to make up for it by putting a 16 ft wall there, but this is going to be home run city, U.K. I feel sorry for the baseballs.
There are two factors that may suppress offense: 1. There’s oodles of foul territory. Oakland Coliseum levels of foul territory. Mark Teixeira would have a field day. 2. The center field seats are white. That will not be a great batter’s eye for hitters, though if the game is sold out and everyone’s in their seats, that may not be an issue.Embed from Getty Images
Odds and Ends
The Freeze is coming over from Atlanta! As someone who hasn’t been to the Braves’ taxpayer-funded stadium, I’m quite exciting. If you’re unfamiliar with The Freeze, he’s the track runner who clowns Braves fans in a foot race every game at Suntrust Park. It’s beautiful.
Also, MLB wanted to do a British version of the assorted mascot races that are around baseball (Presidents Race in DC, Perogis in Pittsburgh, Sausages in Milwaukee, etc.).
What famous Brits is MLB turning into mascots? Henry VIII, Freddie Mercury, Winston Churchill and, of course, the Loch Ness Monster. Fun? Maybe!
I personally love whenever they play baseball games in foreign lands. Give me all the series in Japan, Australia, the D.R. and England. At the very least, having 10 a.m. baseball Sunday is like the Wimbledon finals at 9 a.m. I’ll take my elite sporting events with my tea and eggs. Hope y’all enjoy it as well!