On June 29, 2022, we celebrate the three year anniversary of the London Series where the Yankees and Red Sox played a two game series in London Stadium, in effort to kickstart some kind of MLB presence in Europe.
Lets take a moment to remember the absolute psychotic lunacy of baseball it was. Within 48 hours, we got (ready for it?) 50 runs scored, and 10 home runs. Baseballs were flying out of the ballpark like a couple of dads playing homerun derby on a little league field. Pitching almost felt non existent. The whole extravaganza felt like a wild dream.
I remember the game beginning in the morning (Eastern time zone), so one of my friends came over for breakfast before the game started. We made pancakes and planned on watching the first game before going to the gym. Spoiler alert: I do not think we ever made it to the gym. We practically burned calories by sweating out the entire game.
Anytime the Yankees play the Red Sox, it is natural for fans to get anxious. However, there was a different weight on this series because it was an international first impression. Not only was most of American fandom watching, but this is the chance for the New York Yankees to show the entire world why the name is so famous world wide. The first impression was loud and clear, the Bronx Bombers had arrived by scoring 6 runs in the top of the first inning. Immediately after, the Sox tied the game in the bottom of the inning. It was obvious to us fans in the US what gut-wrenching and nerve-wracking show were in for. I remember feeling the immense weight lifting relief after the first game concluded. After all, there was no way this could happen twice,right?
And then it happened again.
The pomp and circumstance felt like the World Series, and understandably so. There was clear effort by MLB to put their best foot forward as far as production value goes. London Stadium itself is a beautiful architecture, especially with the triangular light fixtures, and was an absolutely packed attendance. Foul territory was laughably large, but I consider that nit picking. The goofiest part was the Yankees wearing pinstripes even as the away team because MLB wanted to display their most iconic uniform while being on the European stage for the first time.
Like i said before, the whole event felt like some strange dream. It was so abnormal from the uniforms, to the venue, to the quality of game. It was a baseball viewing experience I will never forget. By the way, this may help someone in a bar trivia game, but Aaron Hicks hit the first UK homerun.
I have a couple of burning questions for British fans at the event such as: what was your knowledge of MLB before? Was there any way that rules were explained to the crowd, or was everyone already expected to know? How did you react when you found out that the games were not accurate representations of a typical baseball game? And most importantly, did you fall in love the way my country did?