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Yankees-Sox rivalry sets its sights on London. But why?

Throughout the history of sports, there have been so many captivating rivalries.  Duke – North Carolina, Michigan – Ohio State, and Cowboys-Eagles are some of the bigger ones.  However, no rivalry is sports is bigger than the Yankees and Red Sox.  The history, hatred, and animosity over the decades have made it the best rivalry ever, even better than the Hatfields and the McCoys.

The rivalry was so bad at one point that no man was safe, not even an 80 year old bench coach:

The Yankees – Red Sox rivalry is for a lack of a better word unrivaled.  However, the MLB plans on using them as their marquee matchup in London next June.  I understand what they’re trying to do, but taking away one of the game’s best series of the year and shipping them off to a foreign country is a little insulting to the fan base.  To try and be unbiased, there are two sides to every story.

Why it will work

The National Football League paved the way for bringing their sport to the UK and marketing it beautifully.  While it may not be the marquee matchups everyone wants to see (usually it’s the Jaguars) they still get UK fans hyped up for these games.  There’s a reason why they’ve sold out Wembley Stadium.

Major League Baseball could also use a boost in attendance, especially with so much controversy around the league concerning rule changes and pace of play.  A new audience like the UK would give them even more of a reason to continue this international series every year, going all around the world.  Baseball is probably easier to play internationally than football for the players because an entire series lasts at least 3 or 4 days.  A quick in and out trip across the pond would put much more strain on the body than almost an entire week would for the MLBers.

In addition, the UK fans will be somewhat familiar with the format of baseball.  As rugby has some similarities to American football, baseball and cricket also share some of the same traits.  It’s a relatively easy game to learn from an amateur perspective and cricket matches can last forever so baseball would be a BRISK game to them.

Why it won’t work

The Americans broke away from the UK 200 years ago, but they can’t help themselves in shoving their own sports down the Brits’ sports.  At what point does the “International Series” market become over-saturated?  The NFL has already worn out their welcome in the UK as attendance and ratings figures have dipped as the NFL sends more games to the UK.  At what point do they just say “enough is enough”?

Major League Baseball may be spreading themselves too thin for future endeavors.  They already have the World Baseball Classic, have had games in Japan before, and if anything are already the major international sport out of the big four.  From Korea to Curacao, baseball is played by young and old alike.  The UK already has cricket and soccer, who knows if baseball will even catch on?

Lastly, having THE marquee matchup in Major League Baseball in a different country, a different continent, and a different time zone is a disservice to all fans.  There are so many people who as either a Yankee or Red Sox fan look forward to these series.  There are many opposing fans who want to make the trip to the Bronx or Boston for a great baseball experience.  Even for London fans this is as good as it gets, so what happens next year when it’s Orioles and Rays?  The MLB is setting themselves up for failure in all fans’ eyes by using their best matchup in London.

I don’t mind having an International Series in the UK, but it should either be a series during spring training to gauge peoples’ interest or a good but not marquee matchup.  A Dodgers-Yankees matchup would be great for baseball.  It’s two of the most prominent franchises with history between each other, but it’s not Yanks-Sox.  Don’t touch this rivalry.  That’s what’s best for baseball.

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