Everything you need to know about the London Series

June 8th, 2024

LONDON -- J.D. Martinez, London Series veteran that he is, organized a group outing for Mets players to watch the Changing of the Guard on Friday at Buckingham Palace. Pete Alonso was impressed at the ease with which his older teammate navigated a foreign city, leading the Mets exactly where they needed to go.

Of course, he was not the only one.

“It’s tough to come all the way over here and not try to enjoy it,” Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper said, noting his newfound affinity for British cuisine.

In the past, the London Series has featured two of Major League Baseball’s foremost rivalries: the Yankees vs. the Red Sox, and the Cubs vs. the Cardinals. Now, the Mets and Phillies will have their turn, trading in the New Jersey Turnpike for a commute on the Tube.

The London Series, part of a greater MLB World Tour that this year alone has included series in Mexico City and Seoul, will be about more than just two games. But those contests between the Mets and Phillies will of course comprise the main event. Along the way, representatives from both teams will take part in community events, mingle with fans and celebrities and simply enjoy the novelty of a road trip to a foreign country.

In addition to Harper’s London food tour, Alonso spent time Friday quizzing locals on the best place to find a Sunday roast or fish and chips. (He was in luck; the London Series just so happened to coincide with National Fish and Chip Day in the UK.) He and a group of Mets relievers enjoyed a Guinness at a local pub, while the Phillie Phanatic and Mr. Met made their presences known throughout the city.

“I’m all for it,” Mets starting pitcher Sean Manaea said. “I love traveling. Being tired and the grind of it all is all part of the process. Any way to expand the game, grow the game I think is healthy for it. Coming to places like London … being able to play baseball in a different country, city is so special to me.”

As for the rest of the details …

What is the London Series?

The London Series is part of the MLB World Tour, which was created to bring Major League teams and players to a global fanbase. It is the league’s and the MLBPA’s largest international plan, formed with the intention of playing as many as 24 regular-season games and as many as 16 exhibition games in Asia, Europe, Mexico and Latin America through the 2026 season.

When are the games and how can I watch them?

Game 1 is at 1:10 p.m. ET on Saturday on FOX. First pitch for Game 2 is slated for 10:10 a.m. ET on Sunday and will air on ESPN. Both games can be watched on MLB.TV.

What’s the history of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a sporting complex that was initially built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The complex includes what is now known as London Stadium, a multi-use facility that hosts concerts and sporting events. Currently the home of West Ham United FC of England’s Premier League, London Stadium has been reconfigured to host this weekend’s baseball games.

What is the ballpark’s capacity?

Though London Stadium can hold up to 80,000 fans for concerts, its baseball configuration allows for a capacity closer to the 55,000-60,000 range.

What’s the history of baseball in London?

This will be the third MLB series to take place in London, following the Yankees-Red Sox showdown in 2019 and the Cubs-Cardinals clash in 2023. The latter matchup was originally planned for 2020, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While these will be just the fifth and sixth regular-season MLB games in London, it has hosted baseball in many forms throughout history. Prior to the inaugural London Series in 2019, the last Major Leaguers to play an exhibition game in London were from the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox in 1914.

Have the Mets and/or Phillies participated in any other international games?

The Mets played in the first international game (outside Canada) in Major League history, contesting a three-game series against the Padres in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1996. Two years later, they split a two-game series against the Cubs at a sold-out Tokyo Dome in Japan. The Mets also played three games against the Marlins in Puerto Rico in 2010.

The London Series will be the Phillies’ international debut.

Who are the starters for both games?

Phillies: Philadelphia’s plan is to start Ranger Suárez (9-1, 1.70 ERA) on Saturday and Taijuan Walker (3-1, 5.73) on Sunday. Suárez progressed well this week after taking a 106.1 mph comebacker off his pitching hand in his last outing, and he went through a touch-and-feel bullpen session on Friday to ensure he’s good to go.

Mets: New York will send a pair of veteran left-handers to the mound. Sean Manaea (3-2, 3.63 ERA) will start Saturday, followed by Jose Quintana (1-5, 5.17) on Sunday.

What are the starting lineups?



Who will be the home team for each game?

The Mets will serve as the home team on Saturday. The Phillies will have those honors on Sunday.

What community events are planned in conjunction with the trip?

On Friday night, a pair of former franchise greats -- Daniel Murphy from the Mets and Chase Utley from the Phillies -- was joined by Gladiators Apollo and Fire as they squared off in a mini home run derby in Trafalgar Square. Instead of facing each other on the field, they met up in “The Cage” -- a unique augmented-reality home run derby that blends virtual gaming with real baseball action -- with the former Met besting his old rival.

Also on Friday, Commissioner Rob Manfred, Mets owner Alex Cohen, Phillies owner John Middleton and other MLB legends visited Roger Ascham Primary School in London to unveil a newly installed playground baseball diamond. The Mets and Phillies will also host a reading assembly at the school featuring Mr. Met, Mrs. Met and the Phillie Phanatic.

In addition, MLB has already held multiple events this week throughout the UK, including the European Development Tournament that featured 86 of the best amateur baseball players from 13 countries across Europe, a PLAY BALL event that taught aspects of baseball and softball to approximately 200-300 primary school children at the University of South Wales, and the grassroots London-based First Pitch Festival, which introduced a new generation of players to the game.

What else of note is going on at the stadium?

Film and stage star Matthew Broderick, an avid Mets fan who recently completed a run of plays in London’s West End, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday. A day later, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star and Wrexham AFC co-owner Rob McElhenney will do the honors.

The stadium will have both a Phillies Zone -- featuring places like the Liberty Bell Bar, Broad Street Burgers and Philly cheesesteaks -- and a Mets Zone, which will be home to the Amazin' Alehouse, Empire State Burger and woodfired pizza.

Prior to Sunday's game, London’s Grammy Award-winning artist Jess Glynne will perform a live show that will include tracks off her new album, "Jess."

Is there anything else fans should know?

  • Suárez is off to one of the most dominant starts to a season in AL/NL history, going 9-1 with a 1.70 ERA in 12 starts. His nine wins and 1.70 ERA both lead all Major League pitchers.
  • Walker pitched for the Mets from 2021-22 -- and made his only career All-Star appearance in '21 -- before signing with the rival Phillies following the '22 season.
  • Manaea is no stranger to international games, having started the opening game of the Mexico City Series last April with the Giants. Manaea allowed five runs in two innings of a 16-11 loss to the Padres. He’s happy to know London sits at an elevation about 7,000 feet lower than Mexico City.
  • Two Mets have previously played in the London Series: Martinez, who was a member of the 2019 Red Sox, and reliever Adam Ottavino, who was on the Yankees team that opposed them. Martinez reached base safely both times he faced Ottavino that series.