Padres, D-Backs To Play In Mexico As MLB Continues Global Push
The Padres and D-backs have "agreed to play a series in Mexico City next summer," but the dates and full details of MLB's '20 international series "have not been finalized," according to Jeff Sanders of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The Padres last played in Mexico in May '18, a three-game series against the Dodgers in Monterrey. The '20 series in Mexico City is "expected to be played at El Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu." This year’s calendar included two MLB series in Monterrey: Cardinals-Reds in April and Astros-Angels earlier this month (SANDIEGOUNIONTRIBUNE.com, 5/20). ARIZONASPORTS.com's Matt Layman noted the D-backs' two Spring Training games in Monterrey this year against the Rockies "marked a league-high 11th time" the team had played in Mexico. In addition to Mexico, MLB has played games in Australia, Japan and Puerto Rico ahead of next month's Yankees-Red Sox London Series, which will mark the sport's first regular-season contests in Europe (ARIZONASPORTS.com, 5/20).
A FEW FIRSTS: The AP's Ronald Blum notes when the Yankees and Red Sox play at London's Olympic Stadium, they will "play on artificial turf for the first time in more than 2,200 games." The league "concluded there was not enough time to install real grass." Starting June 6, "gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham's grass soccer pitch and the running track." The turf baseball field, "similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that." Foul poles, a batter's eye, a backstop and fencing "will be erected, along with two dugouts." Temporary clubhouses "will be built on the warmup track under the stands -- the soccer locker rooms are too small -- along with batting cages." Because holes "cannot be made in the running track, weights will secure the fences." The field dimensions "will be 330 feet down each foul line, but just 385 feet to center with a 16-foot wall" (AP, 5/21).
WASTE OF A GOOD THING? Next year's London Series will feature Cubs-Cardinals, and in Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote, "Why would Major League Baseball waste a perfectly good Cubs-Cardinals series on a country that cares for the game about as much as it cares for the way we spell color, labor and humor?" Morrissey: "Why punish the fans who have supported those teams so well for decades?" The rivalry is "one of the best in sports," and it is "impossible to have the rivalry between the two teams without the rivalry between the two fan bases" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/20).