London is calling Cubs for games against rival Cardinals

June 22nd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Jordan Bastian’s Cubs Beat newsletter. Jake Crouse assisted while Bastian is traveling to London to cover the series between the Cubs and Cardinals. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs left Pittsburgh with a sweep of the Bucs and four straight series wins, continuing to climb in the National League Central standings. Then, they began their climb to cruising altitude as they lifted off for an even bigger city of bridges.

Saturday begins the second edition of MLB’s London Series, featuring one of the most storied rivalries in baseball: the Cubs and the Cardinals.

knows what the experience is like. The Cubs outfielder, who is red hot in the leadoff spot heading into the series, played for the Yankees in the inaugural London Series vs. the Red Sox in 2019. He only got a couple of at-bats, but he was witness to an electric two-game series that featured 10 homers and 50 runs between the two clubs.

“It was good hitting conditions, for sure,” Tauchman said. “It was really warm and the ball really seemed to be carrying, so hopefully, we can put up some offensive numbers this time as well.”

Though MLB is pushing back the walls at London Stadium -- the home of the Premier League’s West Ham United -- by a few feet, the dimensions are still pretty hitter-friendly, with the distance to center field measured at 392 feet. For reference, Fenway Park has the shortest true center in MLB at 390 feet, though with a fairly high wall.

But as unique as the game will be, so will the experience of visiting London for the first time for a lot of players and coaches.

It will be the first trip to Europe for manager David Ross, who thanked MLB for the “vacation” of sorts. He said he’s gotten a surprising amount of texts from friends who will be making the trip, and his daughter has already texted him a list of things she wants to experience on the trip.

“The way I look at it is we get to go to a cool venue in London and have fun and play a rivalry game over there in front of fans who don’t get to experience baseball,” Ross said, “and that’s good for our game, that’s good for us, that’s good for our young guys, that’s good experience.”

“I’ve never been to Europe, and I think a lot of guys haven’t, so the vibes are really high,” Kyle Hendricks said. “We’re excited to go over there.”

Oh, and while they’re a mile high in the sky, they’ll have plenty of time to toy around with the Nintendo Switches that Marcus Stroman bought his teammates.