Cubs, Cards begin countdown for London Series
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There is a lot of history between the Cubs and Cardinals, but they have yet to take one of sport’s longest-running rivalries to an international stage. That changes in 100 days.
London Stadium will be a sea of red and blue when Chicago and St. Louis clash on June 24-25 in the two-game London Series. It will mark the return of Major League games to the site since the Yankees and Red Sox put on a show in 2019.
“That’s exciting from a ballplayer’s standpoint,” Cubs manager David Ross said when the London Series was announced. “Whenever you get to go to new places and perform and put on this product we have, and put on a good show, it’s really nice. I’m really excited. I think the guys will be, too.”
The Yankees and Red Sox played in front an announced crowd of 59,659 in their opening act in ’19, marking the largest crowd at an MLB game since Sept. 28, 2003. London Stadium, which was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, has a capacity of around 60,000 when it hosts soccer matches.
The ’23 London Series is part of the MLB WORLD TOUR, which has plans to feature 24 regular-season games and 16 exhibition games across Asia, Mexico, Latin America and Europe through the 2026 season.
Ahead of the London Series, English cricket stars Issy Wong and Harry Brook were named MLB Europe ambassadors. Wong is backing the Cubs, while Brook is adopting the Cardinals. Earlier this spring, Brook attended Spring Training with St. Louis, getting tips from players and taking some swings in batting practice.
“I think they are going to love baseball,” Brook said of fans in England.
“[Baseball] is such a big sport in America, and I think a lot of people are going to be interested in seeing the games.”
The Cubs and Cardinals have a rivalry that dates back to 1892. For perspective, the Premier League’s West Ham United Football Club, which plays its home matches at London Stadium, was founded in 1895.
As far as playing internationally, the Cardinals faced the Reds in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2019. The Cubs opened the 2000 campaign against the Mets in Tokyo, and played Montreal in a series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2003.
In 100 days, the Cards and Cubs will introduce a new audience to this historic matchup.
“The general feeling for it coming back this year is everyone’s excited,” Wong said. “People like seeing different sports, that’s always exciting.
“Hopefully it goes well and more people will engage with baseball and enjoy it, because from what I’ve seen, it looks like a really exciting game and a great experience.”