ST. LOUIS -- The bitter and storied rivalry between the Cardinals and Cubs -- one that dates to 1892 and has featured nearly 2,500 head-to-head matchups -- is headed to London in 2023.
The Cardinals and Cubs are slated to play a two-game series on June 24-25, 2023, as part of the MLB London Series at the baseball-configured London Stadium, MLB and the MLB Player Association announced on Thursday.
The 2023 MLB London Series marks baseball’s return to England, where the Yankees and Red Sox played the first regular-season games in Europe in June 2019. The Cardinals and Cubs were scheduled to play in the 2020 MLB London Series, but those games were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sick. Unreal. Honestly, London is on my bucket list,” Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman said. “It's one of those cities that I'm going to hit when I'm done playing the game. Obviously, I travel a ton. But playing baseball, I'm not necessarily wanting to go to in November or the winter time, so I'm glad we get to get there in the summer. I've had a lot of friends who go to London all the time, and they have nothing but great things to say. Expanding the game to greater regions, that’s great for MLB.”
The Cardinals and Cubs, engaged this week in a three-game series at Busch Stadium, have both played international regular-season games in the past. St. Louis faced Cincinnati in a two-game series in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2019. As for the Cubs, they opened the 2000 season against the Mets in Tokyo and they played the former Montreal Expos in San Juan in a three-game series in 2003.
Now, the two storied franchises will bring their often-contentious rivalry to England and play at London Stadium, which was originally constructed for the 2012 Summer Olympics and seats approximately 60,000 for soccer matches. The venue, which features FieldTurf and has dimensions of 330 feet down the lines and 385 feet to center with 16-foot walls, proved to be especially hitter-friendly when the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 17-13 and 12-8, in 2019. Those games drew crowds of 59,659 and 59,059, respectively, and the stadium figures to be packed again to watch the Cardinals and Cubs battle it out in Europe for the first time.
“The Cardinals are excited and honored to be a part of the London Series next year,” Cardinals chairman and CEO William DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. “The Cardinals-Cubs rivalry is one of the best in sports, and it will be exciting to bring it to Europe for a new audience to experience. I have no doubt that the passionate sports fans in London will love these games, and we look forward to creating some new Cardinals fans overseas.”
Added Cubs executive chairman Tom Ricketts: “The MLB London Series between the Cubs and Cardinals has been in the works for years now, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to bring one of baseball’s biggest rivalries to fans abroad in 2023. We hope that this series not only excites and entertains, but brings more international sports fans to the game we all love.”
The 2023 London Series is part of the MLB WORLD TOUR, a slate of games that will bring MLB teams and superstar players to the league’s global fan base. The MLB WORLD TOUR represents MLB’s largest ever plan to play internationally, and it will feature 24 regular-season games and 16 exhibition games played throughout Asia, Mexico, Latin America and Europe through the 2026 season.