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Monday, May 09, 2022

Major League Baseball and London announce long term strategic partnership aimed at growing the game in UK

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. today announced a long-term strategic partnership that includes Major League Baseball’s commitment to hold major events in London over the next five years including regular season games in 2023, 2024 and 2026. Also announced was the formation of the MLB London Legacy Group which will include members from the Greater London Authority, Baseball Softball UK and other key stakeholders in the UK. The Group will be focused on delivering a wide-reaching and long-term legacy program that maximizes the impact of hosting MLB regular season games in London….

To complement these events, MLB Europe will continue to conduct new London-based fan engagement events, expanded UK-focused content, baseball participation programs, and other city specific media arrangements to help continue the growth of baseball’s popularity across London.

A prime example of this is Home Run Derby X, an electrifying new baseball format which will take place in London’s Crystal Palace Park on July 9, 2022. Home Run Derby X has been designed to frame baseball in a fun and unique way to a new audience, with MLB Legends competing alongside characters new fans trust and care about and integrated into digital platforms and live event experiences that appeal to them.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 03:46 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: london

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   1. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: May 09, 2022 at 04:28 PM (#6075920)
electrifying
   2. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 09, 2022 at 04:41 PM (#6075923)
There is someone who has worked very hard, spent significant time in school and has studied at great length to reach a point in their career where they write those paragraphs, sit back and say "yup, nailed it." It's probably unfair but that person is someone I would want to strike quite hard in the groin region.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 04:50 PM (#6075926)
Isn't it a bad idea to have a home run derby in a palace made of crystal????
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 05:04 PM (#6075930)
I can't help but think HRDX is Manfred's trial balloon for how to decide games tied after 9 innings, and then a few years later as a replacement for the entire game itself. And in case you've already put it out of your memory:
The tour itself is a series of home run derbies, where batters will face 25 pitches with only 10 swings allowed on a smaller baseball field. The scoring system in Home Run Derby X is different than the original Home Run Derby, with hitters receiving points for hitting the ball at targets roughly 160 feet from home plate. Players can score even more points for home runs. The opposing team, who roam the field, can also score points by catching balls that don't leave play.

The final quirk of scoring: both teams are allowed to call for a "hot streak," which causes all points earned via the following five pitches to be doubled. This applies on both the offense and defense.
   5. You can keep your massive haul Posted: May 09, 2022 at 05:10 PM (#6075933)
This applies on both the offense and defense.


Defense in a home run derby?
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 05:25 PM (#6075936)
Defense in a home run derby?

Indeed so.
The opposing team, who roam the field, can also score points by catching balls that don't leave play.

What I haven't seen is are the batters going to be hitting off a tee, facing BP-level pitching, or -- since the defense also can score -- facing a pitcher who is trying to retire them. Regardless, I can't imagine "content creators" having any value whatsoever in terms of trying to win the game. Baseball is hard. Even HRDX "baseball."
   7. . Posted: May 09, 2022 at 05:30 PM (#6075937)
HRDX is the future of the game. As long as MLB is going to be slow and plodding and just a bunch of swings for homeruns anyway, there's no need to bother with all the lead-up in lieu of just getting to the ultimate point. Plus it enables a "Senior Tour" and makes for better and more efficient Instagram highlights and enables extra points for Jumbo Dingers (TM) or Mega Dingers (TM) or whatever the hell they're going to be called.(*)

Baseball's demise has been prophesied for awhile now and unfortunately its denouement has truly and actually started. A lot of it was self-inflicted, but it's unfortunate nonetheless.

(*) Oh, yeah, and of course bat flips and poses galore.
   8. . Posted: May 09, 2022 at 05:34 PM (#6075938)
What I haven't seen is are the batters going to be hitting off a tee, facing BP-level pitching, or -- since the defense also can score -- facing a pitcher who is trying to retire them.


I don't think there's any long-term market in offering up a bunch of faceless hard-throwing automatons no one cares about making it ever harder to hit the ball. There's no commercial reason not to tinker with the whole idea of "pitching" in order to find the most marketable balance. What we have now is absolutely, positively the most marketable pitching one could conceive of.

Eventually what will happen is that some variant of HRDX -- maybe not Version 1.0, but some other version -- will become clearly more compelling than MLB itself. At that point, either "baseball" and "HDRX" will become some sort of combination, with each taking the best parts of the other -- or MLB will cease to play baseball as we know it altogether.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 09, 2022 at 05:43 PM (#6075939)
Who are the "characters new fans trust and care about" who will apparently be competing here? Harry Potter? Ted Lasso? Doctor Strange? Dua Lipa?
   10. Zach Posted: May 09, 2022 at 06:30 PM (#6075943)
<i>Players can score even more points for home runs. The opposing team, who roam the field, can also score points by catching balls that don't leave play.<i>

I never thought I would live to see an anti-Blern.

   11. Pirate Joe Posted: May 09, 2022 at 07:50 PM (#6075948)
Who are the "characters new fans trust and care about" who will apparently be competing here? Harry Potter? Ted Lasso? Doctor Strange? Dua Lipa?


All those and more!

   12. JimMusComp misses old primer... Posted: May 09, 2022 at 08:07 PM (#6075951)
#### this is terrible.
   13. NattyBoh Posted: May 09, 2022 at 08:30 PM (#6075953)
Rob Manfred is an abomination in the eyes of man and God.
   14. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6075956)
Rob Manfred is an abomination in the eyes of man and God.

It is quite telling that Manfred's idea to grow baseball internationally is to put together a touring circus show that plays something which is most emphatically not baseball.
   15. NattyBoh Posted: May 09, 2022 at 08:59 PM (#6075959)
Who are the "characters new fans trust and care about" who will apparently be competing here? Harry Potter? Ted Lasso? Doctor Strange? Dua Lipa?

This is England. It could be Teletubbies.
   16. Adam M Posted: May 09, 2022 at 09:08 PM (#6075962)
A culture that can get excited about three-day Test cricket matches is the perfect audience for baseball in its current form.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2022 at 09:27 PM (#6075970)
To my knowledge, ain't no such thing as a 3-day cricket match. A test is 5 days; an ODI is one-day. (I gather that technically a Test could end in 3 days.)

It's not exactly clear how excited the "culture" gets about Test cricket.

Dua Lipa?

You've got my attention.

Maybe they can get the new Dr Who to give it a go.
   18. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 09, 2022 at 09:29 PM (#6075971)
I want Selig back. Words I never thought I'd type.
   19. Brian C Posted: May 09, 2022 at 10:32 PM (#6075996)
I can't help but think HRDX is Manfred's trial balloon for how to decide games tied after 9 innings, and then a few years later as a replacement for the entire game itself.

Call me an optimist, but it seems far more likely that HRDX will just sorta disappear into the ether after a short period of confused apathy.
   20. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: May 10, 2022 at 12:22 AM (#6076018)
I want Selig back. Words I never thought I'd type.
Bumper sticker I saw in Arizona c. 2007: I NEVER THOUGHT I'D MISS NIXON

Bumper sticker I saw in California c. 2019: I NEVER THOUGHT I'D MISS W
   21. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:45 AM (#6076029)
To my knowledge, ain't no such thing as a 3-day cricket match. A test is 5 days; an ODI is one-day. (I gather that technically a Test could end in 3 days.)

It's not exactly clear how excited the "culture" gets about Test cricket


The best kind of correct, is what this is. Better to think of a 5-day Test as if it were a 7-game playoff series, frankly. We seem to be able to get excited for those. And Test cricket has only ever been a huge draw sporadically over the last 50 years; it's an exceptional series or dominant few years by a major national team that draws crowds. TV ratings aren't great either.

As much as HRDX sounds fairly utterly stupid to me, cricket could offer an interesting contrast here - the Twenty20 game type, which effectively compresses a 1-day game into around the length of a modern MLB game - he said, fully aware of the implications. Twenty20s were widely predicted to result in the downfall of the sport when introduced a couple of decades ago, and they've certainly ignited a lot of change.

But 5-day Tests are still considered the pinnacle, and even the longer 1-day games haven't been completely squeezed out (the last ODI World Cup in England in 2019 was fairly well attended). Standards of hitting and fielding have arguably increased due to lessons learned in the shorter format. Sometimes the new and the old can, uneasily, co-exist.
   22. AndrewJ Posted: May 10, 2022 at 08:35 AM (#6076035)
Who are the "characters new fans trust and care about" who will apparently be competing here? Harry Potter? Ted Lasso? Doctor Strange? Dua Lipa?

This is England. It could be Teletubbies.


Or The Young Ones. Or Basil Fawlty.
   23. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: May 10, 2022 at 12:18 PM (#6076062)
Classic technique: when you struggle to retain customer base, you seek new customers overseas. Carmakers like GM have been doing this for decades.
   24. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 10, 2022 at 12:58 PM (#6076069)
Classic technique: when you struggle to retain customer base, you seek new customers overseas. Carmakers like GM have been doing this for decades.


Sure, but they did it by selling them cars, not pogo sticks.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:23 PM (#6076099)
Actually GM did it from day one. GM purchased Vauxhall (England) in 1925; Opel in 1929; Holden (Australia) in 1931.
   26. Scott Ross Posted: May 11, 2022 at 12:49 PM (#6076268)
A friend of mine who's in a position to know such things says MLB lost $30 million putting on the Sox-Yankees series. If they really want to grow the game over here, they'd be better off delivering $30 million worth of wiffle balls and bats, as well as actual baseball equipment, to all the schools around London. Or maybe establish little leagues and softball leagues in South London. All the kids already have cleats, and there are parks all everywhere, many of them with cricket nets that could be used as batting cages.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 11, 2022 at 01:03 PM (#6076275)
A friend of mine who's in a position to know such things says MLB lost $30 million putting on the Sox-Yankees series.

That seems un-possible. How can you $30M on a couple of games?
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 11, 2022 at 01:57 PM (#6076283)
I wouldn't be surprised if converting a soccer stadium to a ballpark alone cost $30 million. This is from ESPN:

Cook and his 150-strong staff have had to build their “ballpark-in-a-box” from scratch in just 23 days, importing a lot of the materials, including 340 tons of clay from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and 50 tons of FieldTurf manufactured in Auchel, France.... "Dugouts, bullpens, batter’s eye, field, fencing, padding, locker rooms, warning tracks, all the things you see, everything in 23 days, and we got this ‘ballpark-in-a-box’ idea coming to fruition.”
   29. Jay Seaver Posted: May 11, 2022 at 02:11 PM (#6076289)
It seems like a lot, but I bet there are things that can add up, especially considering that the Red Sox and Yankees were likely not paying for anything individually and probably wanted bonus payments, as did the union. They had expanded rosters (and a few extras along in case of injury), so even if each player was getting "just" $50k for the trip, that'd be $3M right there. Then the league is probably paying the Red Sox over and above what they'd make from two home games, there's whatever the Fan Fest thing costs to put on, just what it takes to fly 100+ people (and possibly their families) over first class and put them up in nicer hotels than I stayed at, and whatever they spent advertising it in London and maybe across Europe.

It still seems like a lot to me, but I'm completely guessing on a lot of this, and that's before you get into the slanted accounting where they tell one group that it's a money-maker because they'll sell a bunch of extra merch and MLB.tv subs because of it but don't actually count that against the cost of the event when it comes time to file taxes.
   30. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 11, 2022 at 02:36 PM (#6076292)
It is quite telling that Manfred's idea to grow baseball internationally is to put together a touring circus show that plays something which is most emphatically not baseball.


Well, he did the same with the Major Leagues -- this is just more of the same.
   31. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 11, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6076333)
I was surprised by how much interest there was in NFL games in London when I lived there. Probably among expats primarily, but still, I saw a ton of people in NFL gear around the city that weekend.

With the right marketing you could probably have something similar with baseball games. Just play regular baseball games and don’t do all these stupid gimmicks. There should be an audience.
   32. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: May 12, 2022 at 05:28 AM (#6076417)
Yeah, the Red Sox/Yankees weekend was packed, and I spent quite a lot of money on not-very-good tickets to be at the Saturday game. I would hope that some of the spend was reusable, since there was a planned 2020 weekend with Cards-Cubs which obviously fell victim to the pandemic, so possibly that will simplify setting up the next few years' worth of series will be closer to profitable.

I have schoolfriends who have never been to the US in their lives but who have adopted NFL teams for their fandom, and several of them have been to at least one of the London games over the last decade or so. That idea would have seemed laughable to them in the 90s. I wonder if the top tier of English football reaching new heights of commercialization has made US sports seem less alien to the British. Plus streaming services and social media improving access, and so on.

The days when I got to see - or rather videotape for future viewing - one or two MLB games per week, broadcast after midnight local time, between whichever teams were available to Britain's least popular free-to-air station seem pretty distant now. Not to mention scouring the corners of London sports stores for imported VHS tapes of Ken Burns' Baseball series at $40 a pop, hoping that somehow they had more of the volumes I was still missing.
   33. manchestermets Posted: May 12, 2022 at 08:34 AM (#6076423)
To my knowledge, ain't no such thing as a 3-day cricket match.


Not international ones, but until a few years ago long form domestic games in England were played over three days - it's four these days.

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