Last night I couldn’t sleep so as I was trolling through Twitter I cam across an account with a podcast (Bat Flips and Nerds), and I gave it a listen. Now while I was for the most part entertained with some of the talk, especially since it was about the MLB playing in London. So I wanted to address a few issues and give my 2 cents.
The No Way It Will Happen Anytime Soon
So the podcast mentioned how much they would love to see the MLB All-Star Game in London. Yeah that would be nice with so many stars going over there and showcasing their abilities. But I don’t think that will happen, at least in my lifetime. On the other hand, and exhibition series in London with many of the all-stars would be a nice start. That way some of the young stars could be showcased to the British people and perhaps lead to more fans. Let’s face it, baseball is not huge in Great Britain. While it might be growing, many people there do not understand the game since it is not played as widely as other places.
The I Would Be Shocked If It Was the First Series
Red Sox v. Yankees – Yes I know there has been talks between the owners of taking a series to London. I just don’t see it, at least not for the first series. Someone of the podcast mentioned how it would be great for the teams and fans to have the popularity of their team grow in another country. Yes, for the owners. Let me be clear that most Red Sox fans do not care if the Red Sox are popular in Great Britain. That means so little to them. Quite a lot less than missing out on a home series against the evil empire. And the same goes for Yankees fans, who might in fact care less.
Of course that does not go for all fans. I am one in particular that wants to see the sport grow everywhere in the world. But I am in the minority here in the USA.
Yeah But the NFL Sent Their Best Teams to London First
No they didn’t. They sent the New York Giants, coming off an 8-8 year in 2006, and the Miami Dolphins, who went 6-10. In fact, the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007 the year they played in London. Sure New York won the Super Bowl in 2007 but nobody saw that coming. After all they went just 10-6 in the regular season.
Year two saw the New Orleans Saints the home team. The 2008 Saints that played in London went 8-8. The year prior they went 7-9. They did play the 2007 AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers (11-5 in 2007), but even the Chargers went 8-8 the year they played in London.
Year three, in 2009, was more of the same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the home team. A year in which they went 3-13, coming off of a 9-7 campaign in 2008. Not exactly Super Bowl contenders. Their opponent, the New England Patriots, went 11-5 the year prior to London but didn’t make the playoffs.
Not a single year was the home team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. Typically they are teams that struggle and could use a good payday with a “home” sellout even if it is in London. So the argument that the NFL is sending its best is a fallacy.
However, like the NFL Major League Baseball can send decent teams over to help grow the sport. The NFL would not continue adding games if they were not making money, and I think MLB will follow suit. I would love to see MLB at least send over a young superstar. I really liked the idea of the New York Mets going over with their young pitching staff, especially Noah Syndergaard. Throw in a division rival in say the Atlanta Braves, disclosure my favorite team, and you have a nice combination. A series with Syndergaard, deGroom, and Harvey pitching is quite the start. Throw in Granderson, who is notoriously great for growing the game, and you have some guys that will be a positive. On the Braves side seeing other top prospects like Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, and star Freedie Freeman and you have the makings of a good start. No they are not the best teams with the most stars, but it would be a nice start.
Either that or making sure someone like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper make the trip would be nice too. No matter who goes at least one team really needs a superstar in my opinion, or the very least some young budding stars that the British can follow over the years.
It is about time MLB makes the move to play outside the USA/Canada again. It has been a few years since the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played in Australia.