Major League Baseball has finally crossed the pond into the United Kingdom. For the league’s new London Series with Mitel, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox played the first ever MLB games in Europe.
With the largest American baseball stadium, Dodger Stadium, seating 56,000, the famous London Stadium, which was constructed for the 2012 Summer Olympics and serves as the home for West Ham United F.C., managed to fill up its 60,000 seat venue with diehard fans. For two sold-out nights, the crowd bled blue and red as West Ham United’s “I’m forever blowing bubbles” anthem was benched for Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Frank Sinatra’s “New York.”
Leading up to the historical first game, MLB set up shop at Truman Brewery to host a three-day “London Yards” festival. For all things baseball, the space featured tons of sport activations. Ball Boyz host Kyle Hodge was on the scene demonstrating his suspect baseball skills, testing out his batting in the Moonshot cage and showing off his pitching speed and accuracy in the Spin Cycle challenge. Let’s just say, he wasn’t breaking any records.
The festival also featured exclusive apparel from official cap of MLB, New Era. Its activation provided fans the opportunity to customize their favorite MLB team cap with a collection of patches that celebrated London, New York, and Boston culture. New Era also paid homage to the past setting up a timeline wall highlighting the most memorable moments in their partnership. From its first ever baseball cap made in the 1930’s to Spike Lee‘s iconic custom red Yankees cap in 1996, hardcore fans and newcomers alike were able to learn more about America’s past time.
We then headed over to London Stadium, to talk with a few players about playing in London and more. As fashion and sneaker culture continue to grow within the sport, Kyle caught up with Yankees players Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks alongside Red Sox players Eduardo Nuñez and Matt Barnes to discuss their favorite custom cleat, their most stylish teammates, and dream fashion collaborations. Spoiler alert, Off-White™ is a player favorite.
With die-hard baseball fans selling out London Stadium two nights in a row, the sport’s popularity in the UK is clearly very strong. Hopefully the success of this weekend’s event opens the door for more London Series games in the future. For a closer look at the London Yards event, player interviews, and more, watch the full Ball Boyz video above.