Welcome back Kurt Wilks
June 29th 2019, London Stadium. The first MLB regular season game will take place not only the UK but on the continent of Europe. Old news I know, but still hugely exciting 9 months or so on from the announcement.
We all know that two of the games biggest franchises and fiercest rivals, New York Yankees will contest the series in London in 2019. And with rivalry being the promotional angle chosen by MLB I immediately switched my attention to what could be in 2020.
Wishful thinking? Probably. Could it happen? Maybe. Could I be that lucky? Highly doubtful!
Fast forward to February 8th 2019. Tickets for June secured, hotel booked and the historic occasion fast approaching. As is often the case, too often if you were to ask my Wife, I was scrolling through Twitter when something piqued my interest.
This wasn’t a tweet from the usual rumour mongers and attention seekers that dwell in the depths of Twitter. This was an apparent independent, trustworthy source reporting that my dream scenario for 2020 was on the table.
Derrick Goold, the Cardinals lead beat writer for the St Louis Post Dispatch then went on to report the possibility. The credibility of these reports was only increasing in my mind.
I reached out to Mr Goold hoping he could throw more fuel onto my burning fire of optimism, thankfully he obliged.
Whilst nothing was confirmed the prospect of the Cardinals, MY Cardinals making the trip across the Atlantic to play meant I would waste the remainder of the evening canvassing twitter for how this news had been received, particularly amongst Cardinals fans on the other side of the pond.
Not to my surprise the news brought out the usual mob looking for any excuse to to outraged.
Now, my general rule on Twitter is to not to be drawn into back and forths with the often ill informed, uneducated clowns that occupy the twittersphere. Could I resist? Yes. How could I vent in a “constructive” way? Hello, welcome, thanks for reading!
The feeling that this was taking their beloved baseball away from St Louis was not unanimous across the fan base, thankfully. The implication that the 79 games that would remain on the schedule at Busch would not be enough to satisfy their baseball appetite left me guilt ridden that I could be happy through others misfortune.
No doubt Messrs Nixon and Ippensen and other like minded individuals take in every pitch of the 81 games in person at Busch over the course of the “normal” season so their frustration at having to catch an extra 18 innings of Cardinal baseball on TV is understandable!
Let’s ignore the fact that there are many Cardinals fans that exist outside of Missouri and Illinois. Will e are still a part of Cardinal nation, we watch from afar but our passion and commitment is no less, arguably greater.
Staying up til the earlier hours of the morning just to catch the first pitch of an evening game never mind the full 9 innings. We have commitments that make making a quick trip over to the states difficult or even a pipe dream. Opportunities to see our baseball heroes live and in person play the game we follow so avidly are rare.
So excuse us. To all the MLB fans in the US who see this as an inconvenience and want to look down on our fandom as an irrelevance.
Whether we are Cardinals, Yankees, Astros, Padres or Rays we are BASEBALL fans. We want interest in the sport we love to can grow across our country.
Bringing over the more storied franchises to get the media coverage makes perfect sense to gather the momentum required for this to be a success. It should be considered a compliment to be one of these teams. But don’t be fooled, we would still turn out in great numbers to watch a Tampa or Seattle and be grateful for the opportunity to see Major League Baseball thrive in the UK.