Chicago Cubs will not be traveling to London to take on St. Louis Cardinals
The Chicago Cubs were embracing the opportunity to perform for thousands of fans in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has altered plans, yet again.
Major League Baseball may take place within North America, but it hasn’t stopped them from taking their product to other countries over the years. In fact, this June series in London would not have been the first time our Chicago Cubs played overseas.
With Sammy Sosa, Joe Girardi, and Mark Grace in the lineup, the Cubs opened their 2000 campaign in Tokyo, Japan. A two-game set with Mike Piazza, Rickey Henderson, Mike Hampton, and the New York Mets on March 29 and 30 in the infamous Tokyo Dome.
Each game was filled with 55,000 excited fans as Sosa and Piazza slugged it out in the first game of the series. Both men tallied two hits each while Piazza provided two-runs of support for his pitching staff.
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The Land of the Rising Sun was treated to a series split and would not see MLB action again until 2004. A year before the league’s return to Japan, Chicago had themselves a three-game set with the Montreal Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during the late-half of 2003.
Thankfully, we can now reflect on that season without feeling sick to our stomachs.
In 2018, Major League Baseball agreed to have baseball games played in London in 2019 and 2020. Fans ‘Across the Pond’ got a taste of one of the oldest rivalries in sports with Boston and New York. As expected, the two American League East powerhouses exchanged blows.
And boy, they were in for another treat. Like Boston and New York, Chicago and St. Louis have a historic rivalry of their own that met in the postseason. Led by a young core, Joe Maddon and the Cubs dethroned the Cardinals for several years until winning the World Series in 2016.
Sadly, the 2020 London Series has been officially canceled while baseball operations remain on hold. Although the decision made was both evident and understandable, it is still disappointing given the talent headling the series.
Like 2019, young stars were prepared to put on a marvelous display that would leave fans in the United Kingdom wanting more. Names such as Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, Jack Flaherty, Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, etc. bring new life to this rivalry and sport.
Despite the London set being taken off the table, baseball will return to the United Kingdom and other countries in the future. Once it is safe to travel, more International games should be scheduled to make up for what was lost.
The game of baseball itself isn’t just for those in North America; it is universal. A game loved and cherished by millions.