Cardinals-Cubs series in London: three things to know

Cardinals-Cubs series in London: three things to know

The MLB London Series returns this weekend, and the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will face off overseas.

At London Stadium, the Cardinals and Cubs will play each other on Saturday and Sunday. The rivals in the NL Central will meet for the first time outside of St. Louis or Chicago in the MLB’s first London Series since 2019.

Here are three things to know about the Cardinals-Cubs London Series before the games start.

  1. History of the London Series

In 2018, Major League Baseball agreed to hold consecutive international series in London. At first, it was anticipated that these would take place in 2019 and 2020 at London Stadium, which was built for the 2012 Olympics.

The New York Yankees’ and Boston Red Sox’s one-of-a-kind rivalry continued as planned during the 2019 London Series. The Yankees and Red Sox had quite the slugfest, scoring 50 runs in just two games despite being in unfamiliar territory. In the end, New York won both games.

MLB announced around that time that the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals would play at London Stadium the following summer. The COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, severely disrupting the upcoming MLB season and limiting international travel for some time. The series was canceled as a result.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred met with London mayor Sadiq Quan last year to plan for the postponed Cardinals-Cubs series and more baseball in London as pandemic restrictions eased. They agreed to host regular season games at London Stadium in 2023, 2024, and 2026, as well as other partnership events over the next five years.

The partnership’s initial series: The Cubs and Cardinals are the only other teams. MLB recently announced that the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets will travel to London for the third game of the series next year.

One significant change for the games this year may be incorporated into long-term plans. London Stadium’s perimeter fences are being pushed back anywhere from five to seven feet. In advance of the Cardinals-Cubs series, London Stadium also upgraded its LED lighting system and changed the seating arrangements.

  1. Impact on the Cardinals and Cubs

Following their arrival on Thursday, the Cardinals and Cubs both had the opportunity to practice on the grounds of their subsequent two games on Friday morning.

On Friday afternoon, the Cardinals talked a lot about the experience and the upcoming London Series. For some, including Game 1 beginning pitcher Adam Wainwright, it’s their most memorable time traveling to Europe.

“This is all an incredible experience for me, seeing Big Ben and Tower Bridge and all of it,” said Wainwright. “It’s fun to see it in person, not to see it in a book or encyclopedia. It’s fun to walk on those old cobblestone streets and see the buildings.”

After participating in the World Baseball Classic, Wainwright, Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and a number of other members of the big-league team now have an additional opportunity to promote baseball as a global sport.

“Coming over and seeing stuff that’s 1000 years old or older right in the middle of the city, [you have] an appreciation and understanding the smallness of you as a human being and the history of the world we live in,” said Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. “We’re just here for four days, but when you think about the history and all the things that have gone on, just having a coolness to experience these things.”

Despite the fact that the series is primarily about international ties, the Cardinals (31-44; 9 games behind the lead in the NL Central) and the Cubs (36-38; 3.5 games behind the lead in the NL Central) still have a lot of ground to cover in the standings.

“We’ve come here to do business,” said Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras. “I know it’s going to be fun, but my main thing is to go about my business the same way as if we’re playing in the USA.”

This week in London, there aren’t just the St. Louis Cardinals pitching. In an effort to strengthen London’s ties with the Gateway City, a group of civic and business leaders from the St. Louis metro area traveled to Europe earlier this week for a series of events focused on business.

After participating in the Field of Dreams contest in Iowa last year, the Cubs will play for the second season in a non-traditional MLB venue. According to Forbes, many Cubs hope this broadens MLB’s international reach.

The Cardinals haven’t played an international series outside of the United States or Canada since the 2019 season, when they played the Cincinnati Reds in the Mexico series. It is the Cubs’ first similar encounter since their game against the Montreal Expos in Puerto Rico in 2003.

The Cardinals and Cubs have a chance to increase the estimated economic impact of the inaugural London Series, which was $62 million, on the United Kingdom.

  1. When, Where, and How to Watch

Both Games Both games will be shown on national networks of television. Plan accordingly because Bally Sports Midwest won’t be the Cardinals’ primary channel.

Saturday, June 24 Opening day: Stream at 12:10 p.m. CT: Sunday, June 25th, MLB on FOX (FOX 2) First pitch: Stream: 9:10 a.m. CT Anyone who has access to a television, an antenna, or a cable subscription can watch ESPN on Saturday on FOX 2.

A half-hour edition of “Red Zone” will air on FOX 2 prior to the game to provide you with the most recent Cardinals news and information. Following that, an hour-long pregame show on MLB on FOX will provide a closer look at the London Series.

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