The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are set to play in Europe’s first ever Major League Baseball game on Saturday afternoon in London.
Saturday’s game kicks off a short two-game “London Series” between the teams, as the biggest rivalry in baseball heads across the pond.
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“The eyeballs that are on this over here, with the best rivalry in our sport, hopefully that’s something that can contribute,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone told the Guardian. “A lot of the families are here, and yesterday a lot of our guys got to go out and experience things. But it is a business trip. We’re playing the Sox and that does tend to get your motor running hot.”
The game will take place at London Stadium, which was originally named Olympic Stadium when it opened prior to the Summer Olympics in 2012. The 60,000 capacity stadium is used to holding soccer events, so crews had to transform the pitch into a baseball field.
The game is expected to be sold out and takes place nearly 12 years after the National Football League (NFL) played their first game across the pond. Fans showed up to the stadium earlier today, catching part of batting practice.
Rick Porcello, the scheduled starting pitcher for the Red Sox is expected to go against Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees. Porcello took time before the game to catch some of London’s attractions.
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“We went to Camden Market,” said Porcello. “Took a ride over to Shoreditch and a couple of other places. Piccadilly Circus. Just went around, hopped in some cabs and tried to enjoy the culture and see and learn as much as I could.”
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The Red Sox enter the game as the defending World Series champions and are currently nine games behind the division-leading Yankees.