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On June 29 and 30, 2019, a new era dawned for baseball — in London.

The first Major League rivalry games, featuring the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, the 2018 World Series winners, took place during London Series 19 at London Stadium in the East End.

The number 19 represents 2019.

Tickets went on sale late last year. They were incredibly expensive, starting at over £100 apiece. Not surprisingly, we decided to watch it from home:

London Stadium was built for the capital’s 2012 Olympics. The opening and closing ceremonies took place there. For the games themselves, it was the athletics stadium, the scene of so many marvellous medal-winning achievements for both Olympians and Paralympians.

Today, the stadium is West Ham United’s home ground.

A lot of hard work by thousands of men and women behind the scenes to temporarily transform a football (soccer) pitch into a baseball field. This was also an international effort. The turf came from France. Other parts of the field came from Canada. The various elements can, everyone hopes, be stored away for next summer’s London Series.

This is what the stadium looked like:

The venue attracted fans from all over Europe — and the United States:

The stadium was nearly filled to capacity — 60,000 — on both days. It was a joy to watch at home:

Despite the breathtaking stadium, its design and location had a strange effect for batters, pitchers and those in the field. Foul territory was double that of a normal ballpark. There was a certain drag on the balls once in air. This produced a lot of home runs, pitches that didn’t go quite to plan and a lot more running by those in the outfield. The commentators said that scientists attended both games to study exactly why this was happening, as the drag is much different to the usual.

The sunlight was also a major problem. The stadium had a huge black screen on the wall behind second base. That was so the batter could see an aiming point. Yet, as the commentators showed us on both days of play, from certain angles, the sun rendered that white, too.

On Saturday, the first game opened with the national anthems of both the UK and the US:

Then, it was time to play ball!

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Prince Harry and Meghan — threw the first pitch. They’re avowed Yankees fans, as you can probably tell from their attire:

This was the lineup:

Incredibly, at the end of the first inning, the score was 6-6!

Saturday’s final score was an unusual 17-13. The Yankees had won:

A fireworks display took place afterwards:

This was a first not only for the Yankees, but any MLB team:

Sunday’s action took place in the afternoon.

BoSox fans were hopeful, especially with their lead of 4-2 by the second inning. This chap had a hat in each camp, so to speak. Worth watching:

Fans were told on both days that they could keep any balls that reached the stands. This happened a lot:

Then, at the top of the 7th, doom struck. Three BoSox pitchers in that inning could not stave off the Yankees:

Boston’s Alex Cora already knew that he will have to dramatically improve his bullpen when trading for the 2020 season starts in July. He needs much stronger pitchers overall.

Cora has already told his star batters that they will have to play more offensively when on the field. Mookie Betts has been taking that advice on board and is beginning to play more aggressively, anticipating opponents’ moves and strategies.

Sunday’s final score was another rout for the BoSox, unfortunately:

Next year, our other favourite rivalry will battle it out in London Series 20:

Representatives from the Chicago Cubs and the St Louis Cardinals came here to watch this year’s games.

They can hardly wait for 2020! Nor can we!

Special thanks go to MLB, Mitel and other sponsors for making the London Series possible. THANK YOU!

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