New York Yankees V Boston Red Sox – Going to my first Baseball game in London

I have long been a fan of Baseball having watched it on TV since 1984 (and currently semi watch 5 or 6 games a week in the evening UK time) when I was only little and so got premium seats for the game as I knew I would enjoy it.

Some have said it is the first time real Baseball has come to the UK but of course it was originally a sport conceived on these fair isles.  Many people mention it’s similarity to Cricket but as a huge fan of Cricket, I can barely find any beyond the fact that both feature bats and balls.   If anything I always found Baseball most familiar to Rounders which I played until the age of 11 at school and which is what drew me to Baseball in the first place.

There seems to be documented evidence of the Prince of Wales playing baseball or something very much like it all the way back in 1749 at Walton-On-Thames.  Even earlier back there is a print of a child running to first base in 1744 whilst luminaries such as Jane Austen have said to have played the game.

The myth that Baseball having American origins is most likely just that, a myth.  Likewise up until the middle of the 18th Century, Cricket was the most popular sport in the United States.  It is only now that both sports are being recognised again in both countries.

Red Sox V Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees in London

I find Baseball to be comparable to Twenty20 Cricket (which I hate) or even 1 day cricket though a little less tactical or intricate. I very much like long games, my favourite sport is 5 day cricket matches so 4-5 hours of Baseball is fine. One thing I noticed is that it (and I think NFL too) is not as intense an experience  to watch as football or rugby due to the natural breaks and format in the game.

A number of Baseball players were interviewed and they too said nothing quite has the atmosphere of a British football match. However I really liked it and considering the Red Sox were thrashed in both games, it was even better than I hoped it would be. The first game I think both teams were a bit nervous, I read that they were the highest attendances for a ball game for 16 years (I find it hard to believe but it was an American sports report).

It was very different having flags, national anthems and military involvement before the game, the home team being listed last makes no sense to most people about the USA and still doesn’t to me even though I very well know the reason why this is the case!

I liked how friendly the game was both with players and fans and it was a lot more jazzed up than British sports maybe if I can say it, more of a product or experience than an emotional game; all those musical queues and things come over as really corny on TV but fit better in the arena. Just a shame that the Boston pitchers in particular are not on form.

I will definitely go next year to see the next games, even though I have no particular interest in the teams, I just like watching Baseball even as a neutral. I now wish even more that the television games wouldn’t just focus on the pitcher and the batsman with the ‘strike’ square as it’s much more interesting to see the whole field.

All in all, it was a dream come true and I’m a bit sad I have to wait a year to see it live (I’ve watched 3 games on TV since Sunday night so I am a fan) and that I might not see the Red Sox live ever again. I got a Red Sox Baseball cap and my first ever Baseball which is sat on my desk as I speak!

Cap and ball.jpg

You can see my very slapdash video below!

 

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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6 Responses to New York Yankees V Boston Red Sox – Going to my first Baseball game in London

  1. runsewread says:

    Enjoyed reading about your experience at the game. The national anthems were lovely. I’m in the US, and listened to the games on the radio. The announcers were clearly thrilled to be there, and loved the atmosphere. You saw a lot of runs scored! I’ve noticed the similarities to Cricket, which makes me think I’d enjoy Cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ankur Mithal says:

    One does not often hear about a liking for the 5-day game. But I agree. Nothing like 5-day cricket. With limited restrictions. Skill counts.
    Was this like an exhibition game teams play to promote the sport and raise money? Much like ManU playing in Singapore or Bayern in Delhi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, I find the very short form of cricket to be too dominated by batting whereas the king form is full of tactics and allows for the appreciation of elements such as spin bowling especially in India, Pakistan and Australia and the fast pace of the West Indies etc. The Twenty20 in England or IPL seems to me like having a football match but only with penalties or spectacular free kicks. I really like defensive innings from batsmen where they hold in for 2 days to save a match. Baseball has similar issues with a trend to value home runs over less glamorous but just as skilful elements as pitching. The baseball series in London were actually regular league games so so it was quite special. Good for Boston too for giving up home advantage for two games by playing in London.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m actually a member of Middlesex Country Cricket that play at Lords in domestic matches and I refuse to attend the short over games as it doesn’t seem like cricket. At least baseball is designed to be as it is. The ECB have now taken away the 1 day tournament for English counties and from next year will be for young talent only. They want to bring in games with only 100 balls an innings… as if Twenty20 isn’t too short all ready. All to bring in young fans and more money although I’ve never met an existing fan who is in favour of the new plan. I remember as a 6 or 7 year old watching the great Ian Botham game against Australia in 1981and many a great thrashing by the excellent West Indies teams in the mid 80s. I’m not sure why they think young people have become more stupid in the last 35 years.

      Liked by 1 person

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