London Series 2019

2 July 2019

 

There has understandably been widespread reporting and commenting on the historic London Series doubleheader between New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, an event that produced a feast of run-scoring that would undoubtedly have delighted the legion of baseball and other sporting fans who attended over the two days.

 

Nearly 120,000 captivated spectators passed through the turnstiles over the two-day series - an extraordinarily positive response that would surely have delighted Major League Baseball, British governing bodies, sponsors and clubs who were involved in delivering the event and will already be planning for the scheduled doubleheader between St Louis Carndinals and Chicago Cubs in June 2020.

 

Former Melbourne-based baseball identity and long-standing Alumni member Cam McHarg has been working in London for several years. Now in a coaching role with United Kingdom national teams, Cam took a keen interest in the London Series and was kind enough to provide us with a bank of images from the event along with some fascinating snapshot observations leading into and during the doubleheader weekend.

 

Images can be viewed via GOOGLE DRIVE.

 

LONDON SERIES NOTES (observations by Cam McHarg).

 

Merchandise was expensive, so a game ball cost £40, insulated/thermos type coffee cup was £28.

 

Stadium was easy to get to by tube/rail, however some trains didn’t work after a certain time at night.

 

There was also a Westfield across the walk way to park at. However, roads were closed and there was little signage up saying which roads were closed and which were open. So there were traffic delays before and after games.

 

Food at the stadium was a little different. Outside there were food vans serving a large variety of food. Beer cost anywhere from £6.50 to £8 depending on the size and type. Water was £3 and soft drinks were £3.50.

 

The ground itself is an oval, so there was plenty of foul territory and area along the sides, it was 330 down the lines and 385 to dead center. It played smaller than that.

 

A large number of the British baseball community were volunteers for the event. This ranged from grounds crew, ball boys/girls, Fan zone attendants and even Clubhouse staff.

 

The ground was artificial turf which will be rolled up and stored for next year’s games between the Cubs and Cardinals.

 

Friday was practice day. There were free tickets for members of the baseball community and it was great to be able to see both teams work out. There was also a Great Britain team function to celebrate two new inductees into the British Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

Saturday’s game started at 6:10 and the first inning went for just under one hour. The game went for 4 hours and 42 minutes according to MLB. It was long and a run fest.

 

Highlight for me was the British National anthem. I don’t think I have heard a crowd belt out the national anthem like that before. Prince Harry and Princess Meagan were there with some athletes From the Invictus Games to throw out the first pitch.

 

Aaron Hicks was the first MLB player to homer in London.

 

Sunday’s game had three people throw out first pitch, one of them being GB player Ollie Thompson. There was also some filming done for League of Their Own (British sports/comedy show hosted by James Corden, with  Jamie Redknapp, Freddie Flintoff and   Romesh Ranganathan. Freddie came out on top for this one.

 

This game went for 4 hours 24 minutes, so it was another long one.

 

There was a fan zone just outside the stadium where fans could pitch, hit, virtual hit and play a game on a smaller field. There was also London Fields with a similar set up, but it also had bars and the like.

 

A real highlight was the MLB Elite Tournament held at Farnham Park Sough on the Tuesday-Thursday before the games. MLB upgraded the playing field to their specifications, they also had scouts from every MLB organisation there to evaluate the talent.