RedSox and Yankees will be in London next year on June 29-30.

Soxfan in Fla

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Saw a good number of people from different fanbases today. Sat in RF today. Sun was rough in the later innings. Went to the merchandise showcase after the game by the aquatic center and it got closed down because stuff in London can’t be open after a certain time. Decent experience except the score. I thought initially they should’ve had the plate back further until I was there in person. I thought there was a lot more foul ground right behind the plate but there isn’t. They did all they could with a limited facility to work with.
 

jon abbey

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thought initially they should’ve had the plate back further until I was there in person. I thought there was a lot more foul ground right behind the plate but there isn’t.
Yeah, there was almost no space back there, they were saying it would be very difficult to advance on a ball to the backstop even.
 

MuzzyField

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Do you think it was the camera lens on some of the time lapses giving the fisheye effect distorting the distances? It looked like a country mile behind the plate.

In spite of the results, I hope everyone that made the journey had a blast!
 

jon abbey

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Someone who was there will know better than me, but it looks like there wasn't much room directly behind the plate (but way more off to the sides) because the stands went straight across instead of being curved to match the field like in US stadiums. This is the best pic I can find:

 
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Someone who was there will know better than me, but it looks like there wasn't much room directly behind the plate (but way more off to the sides) because the stands went straight across instead of being curved to match the field like in US stadiums. This is the best pic I can find:
Joe Castig mentioned very little distance to the wall behind the plate.
 

Soxfan in Fla

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Someone who was there will know better than me, but it looks like there wasn't much room directly behind the plate (but way more off to the sides) because the stands went straight across instead of being curved to match the field like in US stadiums. This is the best pic I can find:

I was there yesterday. There is no room. There was one passed ball with Yanks on 2nd and 3rd and no advancement because the ball was so close coming off the backstop.
 

Humphrey

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Also looked like a couple of what would have been foul pops to the catcher at Fenway or YS got in the stands or hit something above.
 

InstaFace

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It's almost as if all the posters here complaining about the field dimensions and layout have no understanding of architecture or engineering.

Oh, wait. That's right, they don't.

The setup isn't ideal, but given the temporary nature of this event, the notion that they could've done better but chose not to out of laziness (or simply didn't consider every possible alternative) is patently absurd.

But messageboarders gonna messageboard.
You mean people bitching here didn't know what they were talking about? I'm shocked, utterly shocked I say!
Christ alive, just print yourself up a sign that reminds you of how you're smarter than the rest of us, it'll save you the carpal tunnel.

This theme is like 40% of what you post these days. I see it in every forum. Why even bother? Go find somewhere else to post that doesn't vex you so. Somewhere befitting the vastly superior intelligence you keep reminding us you possess. Or just sit in your front lawn in a beach chair snarling at passing youth. Either way, absolutely nobody besides you wants to read this shit, and I'm happy to be the first to tell you.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Christ alive, just print yourself up a sign that reminds you of how you're smarter than the rest of us, it'll save you the carpal tunnel.

This theme is like 40% of what you post these days. I see it in every forum. Why even bother? Go find somewhere else to post that doesn't vex you so. Somewhere befitting the vastly superior intelligence you keep reminding us you possess. Or just sit in your front lawn in a beach chair snarling at passing youth. Either way, absolutely nobody besides you wants to read this shit, and I'm happy to be the first to tell you.
I actually like reading his shit, so I guess it's absolutely nobody besides Rip and me.
 

maufman

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Christ alive, just print yourself up a sign that reminds you of how you're smarter than the rest of us, it'll save you the carpal tunnel.

This theme is like 40% of what you post these days. I see it in every forum. Why even bother? Go find somewhere else to post that doesn't vex you so. Somewhere befitting the vastly superior intelligence you keep reminding us you possess. Or just sit in your front lawn in a beach chair snarling at passing youth. Either way, absolutely nobody besides you wants to read this shit, and I'm happy to be the first to tell you.
Without weighing in one way or the other on the merits, this should’ve been taken to PM, not posted here.

Let’s move on, everyone.
 

uk_sox_fan

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I think it's still a legitimate part of this whole discussion to point out that the naysayers were quite overzealous in their negativity about the whole event. We heard doomsayers talk about the probability of rain (not particularly high that time of year), how the travel would be a huge drain on the players (not much different than a West Coast swing albeit with 2 extra hours of time change - certainly nothing that should bother a 20 or 30-something in peak physical condition), the turf (looked better than the stuff the lay out in the Trop and Sky Dome/Rogers Centre), the foul lines and dimensions (addressed above), the fact that both were Boston home games (that bothered me a bit too but I assume there were financial considerations that Fenway Group weighed and decided were in its best interests to agree to), and the time the games were played (as if one game starting at 4am Hawaii time was unacceptable when the legions of Sox fans over here deal regularly with playoff games starting at 2:30am), etc. When someone points out that the naysayers went way too far he gets crucified for being elitist or lording 'vastly superior intelligence' over the rest of us and the poster claims that the rest of us are fed up with him. That's obviously not the case and the poster should take a look at himself and consider whether the criticism that he's overly negative just might be valid. If more people were a bit more introspective before they post it could well have a positive effect on the quality of posts in general on the site.
 

lexrageorge

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I agree whole heartedly with @uk_sox_fan. Playing those 2 regular season games between two of the league's marquee franchises was a bold move by MLB, and by all accounts a successful one as well (assuming one reads articles by people besides Shank). There were undoubtedly some bugs to be ironed out, and the games themselves were a bit of a slog to get through. But there's no reason to think that MLB cannot do something similar in the future, meanwhile learning from the experiences of this past series.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I still have criticisms of the event that I believe to be fair: it was absolutely overpriced and many of the empty seats (in the shade anyway) were likely due to ticket scalpers who blew their investment. Social media was riven with people who "could no longer make it" before the event, the UK Red Sox Facebook group must have had 500 people trying to shift tickets like that in the month before the event. Thanks to monitoring Stubhub, I got my tickets for way below face (£90 for two tickets valued at £140), and got upgraded to some primo seats for Game 1 at no cost thanks to a friend's friend making a few phone calls. A lot of friends in the softball community who were originally interested either didn't go at all, or only went to one game rather than both.

MLB are playing with fire if they trot out these ticket prices for next year, with two teams who wouldn't have as many UK fans as the Yankees and Red Sox. Or European fans - no Dutch players on either the Cubs and Cardinals, and from experience pretty much anybody in a Gregorius or Bogaerts shirt was Dutch and you saw a LOT of those shirts. Plus guys wearing Dutch national team stuff.

In things that are less important: you had to search to find a decent ballpark hot dog (I did, but they didn't seem widely available). The merchandising was all messed up: after being a cynic, I actually really did want a keychain or a magnet or something (and so did my Anglophile mom) but the queues for merch were ridiuclous. You either had to miss half the game queuing up in the stands inside the stadium grounds or queue up for an hour to visit the superstore. MLB needs to have merchandise superstores on every bridge approach to the stadium next year, instead of one.

Also, scorecards for sale or in the programme would have been nice. I like keeping score at a game. A guy across the aisle from me took out his notepaid and sketched out a scorecard on it, so I guess that's two that would have been sold.

Finally, this is extremely subjective and some may disagree, but I thought the stewards were kind of dicks and clearly didn't appreciate baseball crowds are very different from soccer crowds. I found a group of people who were standing behind the seats down the right field line and watched a few innings from there. Then out of nowhere stewards start saying we have to move back to the wall for health and safety reasons. OK fine, although anybody who lives in UK knows health and safety is the ultimate bullshit dump. Then we have to move period. I think by this point people were tuning out the stewards who couldn't agree a consistent line, so in the end it was a dude aggressively shouting at us that we couldn't stand there because we don't have tickets. Which is true, but that's normally something people don't care about in MLB parks so long as you're not in people's way. And US ushers have the tact not to pull this power trip in the bottom of the 7th inning with the bases loaded and Rafael Devers up as the tying run.

But other than that, it was great. London Stadium makes a surprisingly cromulent baseball park, and the views in the upper deck down the lines really weren't too bad - my theory is the distance from the field is mitigated somewhat by the fact the upper deck isn't perched on top of two levels of luxury boxes and a club section. Everybody was friendly and in a good mood, there was good banter between the Yankee and Red Sox fans and a lot of the UK-based fans (myself included) were plainly delighted at being in a space with tens of thousands of other real-life baseball fans. The odd thing about social media is it allows you to discover there are other baseball fans in the UK, but nothing beats actually being in the room as it were. All weekend, you could find yourself in a conversation with somebody about their cool jersey or hat, the play that just happened, etc.
 

InsideTheParker

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I still have criticisms of the event that I believe to be fair: it was absolutely overpriced and many of the empty seats (in the shade anyway) were likely due to ticket scalpers who blew their investment. Social media was riven with people who "could no longer make it" before the event, the UK Red Sox Facebook group must have had 500 people trying to shift tickets like that in the month before the event. Thanks to monitoring Stubhub, I got my tickets for way below face (£90 for two tickets valued at £140), and got upgraded to some primo seats for Game 1 at no cost thanks to a friend's friend making a few phone calls. A lot of friends in the softball community who were originally interested either didn't go at all, or only went to one game rather than both.

MLB are playing with fire if they trot out these ticket prices for next year, with two teams who wouldn't have as many UK fans as the Yankees and Red Sox. Or European fans - no Dutch players on either the Cubs and Cardinals, and from experience pretty much anybody in a Gregorius or Bogaerts shirt was Dutch and you saw a LOT of those shirts. Plus guys wearing Dutch national team stuff.

In things that are less important: you had to search to find a decent ballpark hot dog (I did, but they didn't seem widely available). The merchandising was all messed up: after being a cynic, I actually really did want a keychain or a magnet or something (and so did my Anglophile mom) but the queues for merch were ridiuclous. You either had to miss half the game queuing up in the stands inside the stadium grounds or queue up for an hour to visit the superstore. MLB needs to have merchandise superstores on every bridge approach to the stadium next year, instead of one.

Also, scorecards for sale or in the programme would have been nice. I like keeping score at a game. A guy across the aisle from me took out his notepaid and sketched out a scorecard on it, so I guess that's two that would have been sold.

Finally, this is extremely subjective and some may disagree, but I thought the stewards were kind of dicks and clearly didn't appreciate baseball crowds are very different from soccer crowds. .....
It would be so good if you could find a way to convey your experience to MLB.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I actually got corralled by one of the YouGov people roaming the park to do a post-event poll or feedback event, but they haven't got in touch. Hopefully that's still in the works, because I'd be really keen on doing it.

Stuff like ticket prices may not be taken on, but they could certainly do some things to reward real fans rather than scalpers. Food can always be improved, there were some stalls that weren't getting any action, and the one on-field thing they might be able to do to keep the games from reaching NFL scores in 2020 is slow down the turf a bit - balls were just skidding through the outfield with no discernible loss of speed all weekend.

Oh, one other thing: they shoved way too much info on the main scoreboards, making them pretty hard to read, while leaving a ton of empty space on the ribbon boards around the park. Even with contacts in, I had to squint to see the radar gun reading, meanwhile a 50 foot long ribbon board would feature nothing more than (NY LOGO) BATTING: GIO URSHELA #29 3B. Dude, plenty of room to put the radar gun readings there!

But the merchandising was/is something that's cost them a ton of money. Almost nobody I talked to could get near the merchandising tents because of the queues, and they weirdly sold London Series merchandise in the US that they didn't bring over here (nor is it featured on their really, really poor European online shop). There are not a lot of situations where I am going to pass up buying MLB merchandise in person in the UK, it's a TAKE MY MONEY situation for me, but making me wait an hour to get into a store where I have no idea what's being sold inside is one of those situations.

No discerning Irish-American can buy this, but I know a lot of British people who would, and it wasn't on sale at the stadium.

 
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Al Zarilla

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I appreciate the points of view and experiences about the London games in the posts by SOSHERS who live over there, most recently UK and SB. It’s funny, for as long as UK has been posting, I didn’t know if he lived in Chelsea, London, UK or Chelsea, MA. If I’d just looked at his profile once, there it is (London).

Will they use the same venue next year for Cubs-Cards?
 

jon abbey

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They need to somehow fix the playability problems, players were hesitant to say too much publicly because it was a showcase event but there were major visibility issues in the field and at the plate, plus the stagnant air seemed to kill movement on pitches. That aspect of it was embarrassing for games that count in the standings.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I would like a bigger sample size before freaking out too much about playability. Game 2 was long and high scoring, but not ridiculously so, and Eduardo Rodriguez put forth a perfectly decent start (while Stephen Tarpley not doing so isn't a surprise). Game 1 was 95 degrees, and probably warmer than that inside the stadium. It was insanely hot, the hottest day I've had in 12 years here. I don't remember there being much wind outside the stadium either.

They can probably tinker with the background and the turf for next year, but some things you just have to live with.

Next year's games are June 13-14. The highs in 2019 for those days were 57 and 62 degrees. I bet you get a totally different ballgame in that.
 

InstaFace

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I agree whole heartedly with @uk_sox_fan. Playing those 2 regular season games between two of the league's marquee franchises was a bold move by MLB, and by all accounts a successful one as well (assuming one reads articles by people besides Shank). There were undoubtedly some bugs to be ironed out, and the games themselves were a bit of a slog to get through. But there's no reason to think that MLB cannot do something similar in the future, meanwhile learning from the experiences of this past series.
Is there some indication of intent to do this again next year, and/or make it a regular thing? Something like the NFL's London series?

My impression is that while the NFL is a faint blip on the British radar, MLB basically isn't even on the radar at all. Obviously that's not going to change much unless you do these kind of events, but MLB also might reasonably decide that the existence of semipro leagues in other parts of europe make it a more fertile ground for them to spread the game.
 

Al Zarilla

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They need to somehow fix the playability problems, players were hesitant to say too much publicly because it was a showcase event but there were major visibility issues in the field and at the plate, plus the stagnant air seemed to kill movement on pitches. That aspect of it was embarrassing for games that count in the standings.
Really about stagnant air? i did hear mention of that but saw no scientific explanation about how it could be different enough to matter. London is basically a little above sea level, as are Boston and New York. Was the air that much different re temp., humidity, density, etc., from what could be found in parks around this country (I know about Coors Field). Below horizontal movement on Porcello's pitchers, first his previous start vs. Toronto, then the June 29 game in London. Rick got to throw far less pitches in London but he seemed to be getting similar breaking action in the two starts. The missing pitches in the game against the Yankees (lower right in the Toronto graph) were most likely curve balls. Rick didn't throw throw any against the Yankees. Never got around to them or he had no confidence in his curve? Anyway, like to hear how the air could have been that much different.




 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Really about stagnant air? i did hear mention of that but saw no scientific explanation about how it could be different enough to matter. London is basically a little above sea level, as are Boston and New York. Was the air that much different re temp., humidity, density, etc., from what could be found in parks around this country (I know about Coors Field). Below horizontal movement on Porcello's pitchers, first his previous start vs. Toronto, then the June 29 game in London. Rick got to throw far less pitches in London but he seemed to be getting similar breaking action in the two starts. The missing pitches in the game against the Yankees (lower right in the Toronto graph) were most likely curve balls. Rick didn't throw throw any against the Yankees. Never got around to them or he had no confidence in his curve? Anyway, like to hear how the air could have been that much different.




My understanding is that due to the way the stadium was built for track and field events, there is no circulation of air they way you get at most ballparks (regardless of elevation). Even domed stadiums have air conditioning that moves the air around a bit (plus doorways and runways through which air currents flow). The stadium was built to minimize all that. I think that's what was meant by stagnant air.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Is there some indication of intent to do this again next year, and/or make it a regular thing? Something like the NFL's London series?

My impression is that while the NFL is a faint blip on the British radar, MLB basically isn't even on the radar at all. Obviously that's not going to change much unless you do these kind of events, but MLB also might reasonably decide that the existence of semipro leagues in other parts of europe make it a more fertile ground for them to spread the game.
Cards/Cubs are already scheduled for next year in London. I have no idea if there are further series planned for after 2020, but from a marketing/money standpoint, the UK is a desirable target, so it wouldn't surprise me if it becomes an annual thing.
 

Hendu for Kutch

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Sitting in CF, a few rows behind the batter's eye, I was struck when I sat down that there was NO air movement. It was brutal, with the temps being in the low/mid 90's and the sun shining directly on us. It felt almost supernatural. it was immediately noticeable and I didn't even think/hear anything about that as a possible explanation until I got back from Europe this weekend.

The second you stepped into a tunnel or outside, there was a ton of wind whipping through, but once you cleared the tunnel on the field side...nothing.
 

lexrageorge

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Is there some indication of intent to do this again next year, and/or make it a regular thing? Something like the NFL's London series?

My impression is that while the NFL is a faint blip on the British radar, MLB basically isn't even on the radar at all. Obviously that's not going to change much unless you do these kind of events, but MLB also might reasonably decide that the existence of semipro leagues in other parts of europe make it a more fertile ground for them to spread the game.
Despite being a faint blip, the NFL's London games typically sell out, and the league has seen a general bump in its popularity overseas, especially in UK and Germany.

While these 2 MLB series (this year's and next) should be considered a trial, it's safe to assume that MLB would not have bothered unless they thought there was potential for future games in the UK.
 

InstaFace

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Despite being a faint blip, the NFL's London games typically sell out, and the league has seen a general bump in its popularity overseas, especially in UK and Germany.

While these 2 MLB series (this year's and next) should be considered a trial, it's safe to assume that MLB would not have bothered unless they thought there was potential for future games in the UK.
I certainly hope so and wish them the best at it. After all, it's not everyday you get fans like this:


It seems that the UK series in 2019 and 2020 were collectively bargained for in the 2018-21 CBA, meaning that the earliest you might see a return or a change to another european country would be 2022.

But when that rolls around, you've got competing opportunities like the fact that the Dutch have had pro baseball for almost a century and have purpose-built stadiums that could probably have some temporary capacity added. It's a niche sport in all those countries, but at least it's played and there are fans and stadiums.
 

jon abbey

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Sitting in CF, a few rows behind the batter's eye, I was struck when I sat down that there was NO air movement. It was brutal, with the temps being in the low/mid 90's and the sun shining directly on us. It felt almost supernatural. it was immediately noticeable and I didn't even think/hear anything about that as a possible explanation until I got back from Europe this weekend.

The second you stepped into a tunnel or outside, there was a ton of wind whipping through, but once you cleared the tunnel on the field side...nothing.
Yeah, this is what I was talking about (although I wasn't there). It's possible they did something to move air around a bit better the second game, or maybe that it just was twenty degrees cooler helped.

But something else you can speak to directly because of where you sat is the vision problems that the OFs had. One reason so many balls fell in or went for an additional base is that the OFs couldn't see the ball off the bat very well because of where the sun was (Gardner mentioned this briefly in an interview, but like I said, players were doing their best to not complain about the absurd conditions). Maybe they need to play night games next year?
 

Hendu for Kutch

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Yeah, this is what I was talking about (although I wasn't there). It's possible they did something to move air around a bit better the second game, or maybe that it just was twenty degrees cooler helped.

But something else you can speak to directly because of where you sat is the vision problems that the OFs had. One reason so many balls fell in or went for an additional base is that the OFs couldn't see the ball off the bat very well because of where the sun was (Gardner mentioned this briefly in an interview, but like I said, players were doing their best to not complain about the absurd conditions). Maybe they need to play night games next year?
Absolutely. I've never been great at tracking fly balls off the bat from the stands, but I couldn't follow anything higher than a line drive at all during those games. I was just immediately looking at the fielders to tell where the ball was headed when it went in the air. My guess would be the unique...busy-ness?... of the top of the structure. It's got to be tough to follow the ball through the the maze of metal and sky up there. Here's some pictures I took:


I mean, just look at the shadows being cast. Coming off the bat, balls moving through light/dark like that have got to be tough.





But when that rolls around, you've got competing opportunities like the fact that the Dutch have had pro baseball for almost a century and have purpose-built stadiums that could probably have some temporary capacity added. It's a niche sport in all those countries, but at least it's played and there are fans and stadiums.
A guy I work with is high up in BaseballSoftballUK, and MLB's been working with them for the past year. They completely transformed their fields and facilities in preparation for some Euro-prospect games a couple of weeks ago. Furthermore, he was raving about the training MLB had given his facilities people on building/improving other fields. Said they're light years ahead of where they were before based on what MLB has taught them. The sense I get is that MLB is, pardon the expression, grooming the UK for baseball beyond just these showcase games.

Also, on a humblebrag note, he snuck me up to the MLB partner seats for the last half of Game 2. Not a bad way to watch a game!



 

Orel Miraculous

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Manfred specifically said in the in-game-interview that they're aiming to play in the Netherlands, too. There are a ton of ballparks there, but I'm sure they'll go the converted soccer stadium route there as well. You can add temporary seats to a 5,000-seat ballpark pretty easily, but not 45,000 of them, and not all the necessary clubs, bathrooms, concession stands, etc.
 

Spacemans Bong

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The Netherlands really deserves games, they’re the only country in Europe that has produced multiple MLB players and I’m not even counting Didi Gregorius or Bert Blyleven. Haarlem Baseball Week and the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam are major international tournaments, the Honkbal Hoofdklasse is a semi-pro league of decent quality and pretty much every decent sized town in the country has a baseball club. Alphen aan den Rijn, which is this pretty boring little town near where my aunt lives, has a baseball/softball/Little League complex that is quite genuinely better than any facility in the United Kingdom.

But I’m not entirely sure where they’re going to play games that makes (dollars and) sense for MLB. London Stadium is bigger than any stadium in the Netherlands by almost 10,000 and it’s a mutant stadium that was really built for the Olympic Games, which makes fitting a baseball field easier. You’re not fitting a baseball field into De Kuip or Johan Cruijff Arena without it being 230 down a line or 300 feet to a power alley. You might be able to do something with the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, but it’s a 90 year old facility that would need a ton of work to achieve anything like London. The biggest baseball stadium in the country is in Haarlem, and it seats about 8,000.

Maybe they go back to the Hoofddorp concept, where at least the field won’t be an issue, and build 30,000 seats around it, but that’s not going to be the money spinner London is.
 

nvalvo

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Manfred specifically said in the in-game-interview that they're aiming to play in the Netherlands, too. There are a ton of ballparks there, but I'm sure they'll go the converted soccer stadium route there as well. You can add temporary seats to a 5,000-seat ballpark pretty easily, but not 45,000 of them, and not all the necessary clubs, bathrooms, concession stands, etc.
Most of those parks are way smaller than 5,000. You might be able to get them *up* to 5,000.

Still, if I were running this, I would not only play a Mariners-Astros series (or whatever) before 50,000 in some huge Amsterdam soccer stadium, I would also try to hold some minor league series in some of those tiny ballparks to build buzz and generate local press in the lead up. It would fucking rule to watch a Redwings-Bisons game in some tiny Honkbal park in Haarlem or Ports-Hops in Oosterhout, and it could help build the game at more of a grassroots level in conjunction with the huge spectacle of the main event. You could call it the Nederlandse Zomar von Honkball or whatever.

It seems like you want to reach out to the people who already follow the tiny domestic league, let them know that you see them, and that they are part of a global community. You wouldn't make money on the weekend in the same way I imagine they did in London, but it would be a reasonable investment; you could give out MLB.tv season passes with each ticket.
 
Is there some indication of intent to do this again next year, and/or make it a regular thing?
Did you not actually watch the games or something?



Note the date on those:
June 7 - weeks before the Red Sox were over there.

This has been known for quite some time, and was talked about at length during any of the broadcasts (whether television or radio)
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I certainly hope so and wish them the best at it. After all, it's not everyday you get fans like this:


It seems that the UK series in 2019 and 2020 were collectively bargained for in the 2018-21 CBA, meaning that the earliest you might see a return or a change to another european country would be 2022.
Or they could negotiate something outside of the CBA
 

InstaFace

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Did you not actually watch the games or something?
I didn't, I was at a wedding in the woods all weekend. I caught scores, and was lucky for that. So I asked a question here out of curiosity, and several others were able to answer politely, for which I thank them.

Or they could negotiate something outside of the CBA
Sure, I just find that unlikely given the years of advance planning that seems to go into these things now. But you won't hear me discourage a guy whose handle is tribute to the first Dutch MLB player!

Bonger, nvalvo: Thanks for the intel on Dutch baseball and the possible plans for it - 15 minutes of googling didn't turn up anything half as cogent as your posts.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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For someone who didn't even watch the games (including during the weeks after it, during which it could have been watched on MLB.tv or the like), you certainly seem to have some strong opinions on them.
Which opinions are those? I expressed hope they'd have the event again, and maybe even diversify into Europe. Prior to that my posts in this thread were to ask Bonger about the venue (last March), take a potshot at the Yankees (December), and try to figure out how to buy tickets (this March). And getting on Rip's case for getting on everyone's case. And sure, implicitly, I'm of the opinion that this is something cool that MLB did, and I hope they do more of it to spread the sport we all love, because I think it works.

You may be confusing me with someone else, perhaps someone who didn't care for the field or experience. I'd have gladly watched or attended.