NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball is working to finalize a two-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at London’s Olympic Stadium on June 29-30 in 2019, the sport’s first regular-season games in Europe.
The Red Sox have the option of having both games be Boston home games, a person familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because no announcement had been made.
“I’ve never been to London,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “So, if that’s true, maybe I’m going to London. Anytime you can grow our game, I think that’s a pretty cool thing.”
Baseball officials have long hoped for games on London and settled last year on Olympic Stadium, which is in its second season as home of West Ham of the Premier League. Because it originally was built for a 400-meter track, it is wider than other large stadiums in the London area and can best accommodate the dimensions of a baseball field.
“This is something the two clubs have discussed for years with MLB and hopefully it will become a reality,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in an email to The Associated Press.
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.
Each player would get $60,000 for participating in the games, according to the collective bargaining agreement.
“I think it would be a lot of fun, to be honest,” Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said. “I think the travel would be interesting, how they set that up.”
MLB is playing regular-season games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Monterrey, Mexico, this year.
Baseball opened its season at Monterrey in 1999 (Colorado vs. San Diego); the Tokyo Dome in 2000 (Chicago Cubs-New York Mets), 2004 (Tampa Bay-Yankees), 2008 (Boston-Oakland) and 2012 (Seattle-Oakland); and at Sydney, Australia in 2014 (Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona). The collective bargaining agreement had a provision for a 2019 opener in Toyko.
Additional regular-season games were played at Monterrey in 1996 (San Diego-Mets); and at San Juan in 2001 (Toronto-Texas), 2003-04 (a total of 43 Montreal home games) and 2010 (Mets-Florida Marlins).
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