Returning with part two, it’s Joey Mellows…
This second article focuses on finding an English football equivalent for each baseball team in the National League. With half of the big names already taken off the board in the American League article (which you can read here), we begin to notice that 30 MLB teams into 20 EPL sides leads to some Championship overload.
Feel free to light up the comments section with your own suggestions/indignation and share among any friends or work colleagues who have shown, even a passing, interest in baseball since the announcement of the #LondonSeries.
Atlanta Braves = Swansea City
A few months ago I posted the image (above) on Twitter showing the ridiculously large geographical area that exists between the Atlanta Braves and the next closest MLB side. There is nothing equivalent in the Premier League, although Swansea does appear especially isolated on the map showing all 49 sides in EPL history (accurate up until May 2018). Both teams have passionate support from fans that may have to drive hours to attend live games. A focus on youth development, being easy on the eye and historical success within their respectives area (The South and Wales) are further links. This is a poor one…
Miami Marlins = Blackburn Rovers
Remember when Blackburn won the Premier League in 1995? It’s hard to imagine as they have not been in the top tier of English football since 2012. Also, remember when the Florida Marlins won the World Series in 1997 and 2003? I can’t imagine referring to them as a top tier side any time soon either. #match
New York Mets = Crystal Palace
For some Americans, London appears almost synonymous with the UK as a whole. The vice-versa equivalent would appear to be New York City with many British visitors to the USA flying direct to JFK International Airport, just 8 miles from Citi Field. So we needed a match. Flushing Meadows hosts the US Open, one of the four major tennis tournaments, and is located 0.3 miles from the Mets’ ballpark. Crystal Palace’s stadium, Selhurst Park, is only 8 miles from the Wimbledon lawn tennis tournament. They have also both narrowly missed out on silverware in recent years with the Mets losing the 2015 World Series and Palace the FA Cup in 2015/16.
Philadelphia Phillies = West Ham United
Philadelphia sports fans are notorious for being passionate, rowdy and aggressive towards visiting teams (as well as their own). After the Eagles won their first Superbowl, Philly fans set fire to and looted buildings in their own city. West Ham fans share a similar reputation for passion and hooliganism as celebrated in the 2005 movie ‘Green Street’. Hammers fans even invaded the pitch and confronted players during a Premier League game in March of 2018. A vociferous, loud, loyal, support from blue collar workers and an instantly recognisable food item, cheesesteaks and jellied eels, is a further link.
Washington Nationals = Tottenham Hotspur
The Nationals play exciting baseball and have two of the games most entertaining players in Max Scherzer and hair botherer Bryce Harper. They are regularly in the mix come the post-season but have failed to ever win a World Series. Spurs have yet to win a Premier League title and have two aces of their own in Christian Eriksen and hotshot Harry Kane. Both play in the nation’s capital and are bracing themselves for key departures of Harper and possibly Pochettino (despite his recent new contract).
Chicago Cubs = Aston Villa
The Cubs and Villains share a rich and long history with the majority of their successes coming early on. Villa won the English Championship six times before 1910 but only once since then (in 1981). The Cubs were in four World Series up to (and including) 1910, winning two, but have only won the World Series once since 1908 (in 2016). Both teams share iconic jerseys and remain ‘big names’ despite their limited success over the past 100 years.
Cincinnati Reds = Nottingham Forest
The Reds were one of the most iconic teams of the 1970s, winning the World Series twice (in 1975 and 1976) in large part due to future gambling addict, Pete Rose. The Forest side of the late seventies were similarly famous for winning the European Cup in 1978/79 and 1979/80 under the inspirational leadership of future alcohol addict, Brian Clough. Right now, both teams are a long way from these glory days but have left an indelible mark in the history of their respective sports from this time period.
Milwaukee Brewers = Fulham
Fulham are one of the more hipster teams in London and are flying high after winning promotion to the Premier League by beating Aston Villa in the play-off final. Similarly, the Brewers have suddenly become a fashionable team that could threaten the dominance of nearby big-wig, the Chicago Cubs (paired with Villa!). Fulham have been powered by the goals and (very real) physical threat of Newcastle loanee, Aleksandar Mitrovic, in much the same way Josh Hader has been lights-out for the Brewers bullpen. Eric Thames and Fulham owner, Shahid Khan, also sport some of the most memorable facial hair in their respective leagues.
Pittsburgh Pirates = Derby County
Both teams were founded in the 1880s with the Pirates officially established in 1882 whilst Derby County have existed since 1884. The Pirates have won the World Series five times but not since two trophies were picked up in the 1970s (in 1971 and 1979). The Rams have only won two top flight championships, similarly both were in the 1970s (in 1970/71 and 1974/75) with limited success since then. Both cities have developed around a large manufacturing industry and continue to be viewed as ‘big clubs’ with a loyal support base.
St. Louis Cardinals = Everton
Everton have been crowned champions of England nine times since their formation in 1878 whilst the Cardinals have won eleven World Series. Dixie Dean is an Everton legend, scoring 349 goals in 399 appearances between 1925 to 1937. At the same time, Dixie Dean won 30 games as a starting pitcher in 1934 for the Cardinals – the last National League pitcher to do so. Double Dean-age and a similar trophy haul has resulted in this match.
Arizona Diamondbacks = Southampton
Not many people outside of Arizona support the Diamondbacks. Southampton can’t even rely on the good people of Hampshire for support, with Portsmouth taking half the market in much the same away the high proportion of retirees in Phoenix already have existing ties to teams elsewhere in the country. Both teams are fairly isolated from the vast majority of sides in their leagues with long flights and drives for fans who want to watch the team on away days. The white and red colour scheme is shared along with a similar payroll. Southampton paid 92 million GBP in 2016/17 which is similar to the 89 million GBP shelled out by the D’backs over that same time period. Arizona have won a single World Series which is only one more top flight league trophy than Southampton have…
Colorado Rockies = West Brom
These two teams share a fairly central location with their countries. West Brom, known as The Baggies, have a memorable ‘Boing Boing’ chant – a reference to their frequent movements both up and down the respective league divisions (they have just been relegated from the Premier League, for example). This song could also be in reference to the high number of home runs hit in Colorado with the ball soaring and falling over the outfield wall at a frequent rate. The Rockies/Baggies both have a stadium that is at the highest altitude of any team within their league. Coors Field is an astonishing 5,211 feet above sea level compared to the Hawthorns which is 551 feet above sea level. The Rockies have yet to win a World Series trophy whilst the Baggies have been waiting 98 years since their last championship in 1919/20.
Los Angeles Dodgers = Arsenal
The Dodgers and Gunners are both exciting teams to watch and are often in the mix towards the end of the season, but ultimately, they let you down. The Dodgers have not won a World Series since 1988 with Arsenal not winning the big prize since 2004. Both are in big markets and have to compete with increasingly popular rivals – namely Mike Trout’s Angels and Harry Kane’s Spurs. The Dodgers are the 3rd highest spenders in the MLB which is close enough to Arsenal’s rank of fourth in the Premier League.
San Diego Padres = Brighton & Hove Albion
San Diego enjoys a southern location on the sun-drenched California coastline and is just 20 miles from the Mexican border. They have a young team and a devout UK supporter in Bat Flips And Nerds’ own, Tom Pringle. Brighton could be the UK equivalent. Sun worshippers flock to Brighton beach from London in the summer to catch some rare rays and the city is a mecca for alternative, artsy, hipster types. Calais, in France, is just 134 miles away. Neither side have ever won a top flight trophy but share a blue and white colour scheme.
San Francisco Giants = Chelsea
In the past decade the Giants have won the World Series three times. In that same time period Chelsea have won the Premier League three times. Throw in the fact that both cities are tourist hotspots and have the second highest payroll of any team in their leagues and we have a match!