When the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox visit London for a two-game series in June 2019, the travel may be a hassle, and beans and toast for breakfast may prove to be an acquired taste. But two of the best-hitting teams in baseball may find at least one thing to their liking: the dimensions of London Stadium.
The teams will play Major League Baseball’s first games in England on June 29 and 30, 2019, at the stadium that was designed to host the 2012 Olympics.
The centre-field fence will be an inviting target, just 385 feet from home plate under the preliminary configuration of stadium, which will accommodate 55,000 spectators.
The closest centre-field wall in baseball is at the Red Sox’s Fenway Park, where the 17-foot high wall is 390 feet from home plate. It quickly juts out to 420 feet in right-centre field and is adjoined by the Green Monster to the left. The wall at London Stadium will be between 12 and 14 feet high between the power alleys.
The power alleys will be 375 feet and the foul lines 333 feet with an eight-foot fence running between the alleys and the foul poles. Dimensions will be finalized in September.
Those dimensions would be a boon for Mookie Betts of the Red Sox, who leads the major leagues with 13 home runs, and the Yankees’ sluggers, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. Entering Wednesday, the Red Sox are leading baseball with a .456 slugging percentage, and the Yankees are tied for second with 50 home runs.
News of the series first surfaced in March. It was officially announced on Tuesday in London to coincide with the beginning of a key series between the Red Sox and the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox and Yankees are tied for first place in the American League East at 25-10; they also share the best record in baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays are 6.5 games behind them in the division at 19-17.
The Red Sox will be the home team for both London games next season. MLB has agreed to play another series there in 2020 with the participating teams to be announced.
Several regular-season series outside the mainland United States and Canada have been scheduled recently.
The Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins played a two-game series last month in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres finished a three-game series in Monterrey, Mexico, on Sunday. The Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners will begin next season with a two-game series at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.