UK Red Sox Fans Bask in Glory of London Series

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees kicked off the inaugural London Series on June 29th in London, England. In what the MLB plans to be an annual event, the Red Sox and Yankees enthralled almost 60,000 fans at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London that saw the Yankees win both games. Many American baseball fans made the epic trek across the pond for the series while a large number of UK Red Sox fans came to root for their favorite baseball team.

Little did I know that in the United Kingdom (UK) exists a large UK Red Sox fanbase. They haveUK Red Sox their own Facebook page, and their fans’ love for the Red Sox know no bounds. I spoke with Adam Perry, the moderator of the Boston Red Sox Fans of the UK Facebook page, to learn more about his, and other UK fans’, love for the Red Sox.

“I was a Red Sox fan rather than a baseball fan,” Perry told me in a July 8th Skype interview. “And because of that you kind of get to know the game, the intricacies, the players, the history. So that was the start of it for me. I mean everybody has different reasons for doing it. And when [UK fan club] did start gathering, which was about 20 years ago before the advent of social media, we used to just gather together in a sports bar in London and used to watch the games. We were one of the first sort of supporters or fans of any US sports team that were doing this, which is quite unique.”

Perry wasn’t the only fan that I got to speak with about their love for the Red Sox. After posting a message to their Facebook group asking other fans to talk about how they became fans, I was inundated with dozens of messages, notes, and postings from UK Red Sox fans detailing their love for baseball.

UK Red Sox Fans Love the Game As Much As Americans Do

Janine Pipe stated, “I became a fan after honeymooning in Boston during the famous ALCS in 2004.”

Philip Harris’ love for the Red Sox started with a teacher. “[It was] 1965. I had an American exchange teacher (I was 7-8 years old) who came from Boston and taught me about the Celtics, Bruins, and Sox. Been a fan ever since.”

Sam “Mulldog” Mullan’s love for the Red Sox came from a G.I. his aunt married. “My aunt married a US G.I. after WW2 and moved to Boston. Every time they visited they’d bring something Sox related. One of my baby photos was me in a Red Sox baby grow. Played baseball on the UK for Plymouth Mariners and loved the game! Saw my first game in 2004 and every season I have seen a game at Fenway they have won the World Series.”

Ceri Lewis said, “I’m Welsh. A Celt. So took an interest in the Celtics. Then came the Patriots in 1984. Seemed logical. I was 12 years old. The Red Sox sort of followed but it was baseball I truly fell for. My 25th birthday surprise from my wife was a trip to Fenway. I shook at the sight of the Green Monster. From the outside! I cried. It was wonderful. That was 1997. My fascination became a full blown love affair.”

Christopher Pease’s love began with a baseball movie. “My journey into becoming Sox fan began after seeing The Natural in 1984. It was my first experience of anything baseball and I fell in love with the game at that moment. Following the game was very difficult back then. Two week old copies of USA Today from stores near the American Embassy in London and late night radio broadcasts on Armed Forces Network had to satisfy my growing interest. Luckily British Television broadcast the 1986 [World Series] and I found my team.”

So how did these fans feel about the London Series?

“My Red Sox came to my home town,” Lewis added. “I am still buzzing now. I just wished they brought a feckin bullpen too.”

UK Red Sox Fans A Little Miffed With Team Snub

While most UK Fans were more than thrilled to see the Red Sox come to London, some were disappointed that the Red Sox organization didn’t do more to reach out to its UK Red Sox fans.

“The Yankees came and they did some community stuff,” Perry added. “They brought [some] legends over. But the Red Sox didn’t do anything. We tried to engage and the numbers that we had, I asked if they could send somebody over…to come to our meets on a Saturday.”

It was Major League Baseball, not the Red Sox or Yankees, that oversaw all the operations for the London Series. That fact may explain why the Red Sox did not take on a larger role in reaching out to its UK fanbase; the MLB planned everything. Regardless, Perry thinks the Red Sox could have shown a little more attention to UK Red Sox fans.

“They missed a big opportunity…that’s the one real disappointing thing I think of the whole weekend and beforehand. And I don’t know why that is. I think the Yankees, believe it or not, we’re better at it. They don’t have many fans that they invited some of their fans to meet some of the players on the flight.”

While Pease loved the series, he echoed Perry’s views. “My only gripe was the lack of Red Sox interaction with fans here. Alex Cora did not seem happy to be here either. The Yankees, however, brought over several alumni including Nick Swisher who really had fun meeting fans and young players during the weekend.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that he didn’t have fun.

“We spent several years looking forward to the London Series and it was so amazing, almost dream like,” Pease added. “Next year just isn’t going to be the same even though I will be rooting for Theo’s boys!”

Final Fenway Homestand Before The London Series

After going 5-1 on the road trip, the Red Sox head to Fenway to play in the final homestead before the London series against the Yankees. Going into the road trip, the Red Sox won two straight games. In Baltimore, they swept the Orioles, and did some damage at the plate. After Baltimore, they went to the Twin City to take on the first place Minnesota Twins. Although it was a tough series, Boston did pretty well, taking two of three. Slowly, but surely, the Red Sox are going in the right direction.

Now, we head home to Fenway Park to take on the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicagolondon series White Sox. After two off days, the Red Sox will host the Yankees at London Stadium in the UK for the MLB London Series.

Red Sox Take on the Blue Jays and their Rookies

Yes, that’s plural. The Blue Jays have called up some big names over the past few months. The last time we saw the Jays in Toronto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was in the big leagues. Now, Cavan Biggio – son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio – is on the scene.

Starting Friday, three rookies – Biggio, Guerrero Jr. and Michael Chavis will be playing at Fenway Park. All three are also battling for the Rookie of the Year Award. It will be interesting to see them play at Fenway this weekend, as this is the first time the Jays rookies will be at Fenway.

Right now, the Jays are in fourth place behind the Red Sox. Their last series against the LA Angels didn’t go as planned – loosing 3 of the 4 games at home in Toronto. The last game had some star power, as Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard was in the building after winning the NBA Finals and the Finals MVP Award. After the Red Sox series, the Jays head to New York to face the Yankees.

The White Sox Invasion

After doing some damage in Chicago, the Red Sox face the White Sox in a rematch at Fenway Park. After splitting a two-game series against the Cubs, the White Sox head to Texas to face the Rangers before coming to Boston. They are currently in third place in the AL Central, and are 35-37.

One bright spot for the White Sox is pitcher Lucas Giolito. The 24 year old starter is currently 10-2 with a 2.74 ERA. His first loss came back on April 6th, and his last one was against the Cubs this past week. If things line up, then the Red Sox might be the next team he faces. The Red Sox did face him back on May 2nd in Chicago, getting seven hits and five runs off of him. However, Giolito received the no-decision in the game.

Hoping For a Great Homestand Before the London Series

Following the Blue Jays and White Sox, Boston heads across the pond. There, they play two games against the Yankees at London Stadium. The series should be interesting, especially since both teams haven’t played at London Stadium before.

The Red Sox have their work cut out for them before heading to London. They’re currently seven games behind the first place Yankees. The Yankees will also be at home this weekend and leading up to London. Their first opponent is the first place Houston Astros.

MLB in London? Focus on U.S First!

A few weeks ago, it was reported that Major League Baseball is finalizing an agreement that will bring baseball to London. Yes, you read that correctly— the MLB in London! If agreed upon, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees would play a two-game series at London’s Olympic Stadium on June 29-30 in 2019. The games would be the first regular season contests that the MLB has played in Europe. Clearly, this is being done in an effort to grow the game on that continent.MLB in London

Personally, I think the MLB needs to think about this for a second. It’s not an awful idea, but I think the priority should be growing the game at home in the United States first. Baseball has been losing popularity in the states for a long time now, especially along the younger generation. I feel like a weirdo when I tell friends that I like to sit down and watch a baseball game. That’s not a good thing.

Forget MLB in London, For Now

Instead of taking care of that problem and finding some way to fix baseball here, Rob Manfred and company want to move on to something they aren’t ready for. They are just following in the NFL’s footsteps by forcing London games down everyone’s throats and that’s barely even working for football, which is insanely popular.

My last issue with this is the fact that they are sending the Red Sox and Yankees. I get that they want to send a good product. You do not want to do what Roger Goodell does to the good people of London by subjecting them to crappy teams. This is not the right two to send, however. Baseball’s popularity is down largely because of pace of play and everyone’s short attention spans. That means we should not introduce the game to London by sending them these two teams. They notoriously play the longest games against each other. If you want to send the Yankees or the Sox, send them against someone else. Otherwise, we’ll be getting shots of the fans there filing out in the sixth inning after three hours.