London Series Is MLB Revenue

By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor

Consider this statement from MLB Commissioner Bob Manfred: 

“We don’t want to just be strong where we already have a baseball culture. We want to grow and expand into areas where baseball is not being played.” 

And the Yankees-Red Sox series resumes across the pond in London. If the Red Sox were closing in on the Yankees in the AL East, and as much as these two games being played in a soccer stadium are important to Manfred, you think fans of both teams are thrilled at the fact this rivalry is not in the Bronx or up at Fenway Park?

However that concept of expanding baseball into areas where baseball has not been played is all about the business of MLB. You can accept in season games played in Japan and Mexico, though Opening Day is an American tradition. Baseball rosters, and a majority, are represented from the Latino culture. 

Rosters are also seeing more with a culture from Japan, and to MLB Opening Day this year with the Mariners and Athletics took place in Japan. So we can accept that the business of baseball has taken on another dimension with intent to go global and that is also played out every four years with a March tournament known as the WBC, the World Baseball Classic.

But Yankees-Red Sox? London, as the season approaches the mid- point, does not sound logical. Even though the Yankees and Red Sox don’t seem to mind, and why should they with the revenue gained, players are creatures of habit and will have to adjust to jet lag and a soccer stadium that is transformed to a baseball diamond.

Does not sound logical but Saturday and Sunday this becomes a reality.

“We’ll be ready to go,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone Wednesday afternoon. His team completed a 9-1 homestand and safely arrived in the United Kingdom. The Yankees have the second best record in the American League, next to the Twins, and without Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup it takes nothing away from their ability to hit the home ball.

Home runs, a MLB record  29 consecutive games continued Wednesday with a walk-off win over the Blue Jays in the Bronx. And for Bob Manfred, for Major League Baseball, that is the way their game is played. And now the introduction to Europe where soccer, crickett, and boxing are popular.

Though none of the Yankees and Red Sox seem to be bothered. They look forward to this London Series. They say this is an experience, historic, and don’t look at this as a vacation with eight games remaining before the All-Star break.

London Stadium hosted the Olympic games in 2012. A turf field and not grass, so adapting to the playing field should not cause an issue as MLB is conscious about the conditions of fields and will be prepared.  Next year the series will go to the Cardinals and Cubs, and that makes it official, Major League Baseball has arrived in London, just like the NFL and NBA have in the past few years.

But is this a good concept? Again, fans of the Yankees and Red Sox would prefer Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium.

Ask Aaron Judge and he said, “It’s gonna be a good one. Another quality ballclub, great pitching staff and great offense. The fans are gonna be in for quite a treat over there.”

Yea, but the fans here  would rather have the treat of Yankees-Red Sox to continue spreading that culture of baseball played in their respective ballparks. 

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