You’ve heard from everyone else who contributes to Bat Flips and Nerds, you’ve probably heard some team podcasts also talking about the series, but you haven’t really heard from the four of us here at Bat Flips and Nerds.
We of course have John McGee, a Red Sox fan, Tom Pringle who can’t decide if it’s Red Sox or Padres for him (It’s Padres and we all know it), Ben Carter the Colorado Rockies fan in the UK and Darius Austin, who has spent the entire season watching the San Francisco Giants do, well, who knows what.
At lead off, it’s flip flopping Tom Pringle.
Seeing as this is my first Major League Baseball game that I will be watching in person, there are number of things I’m most looking forward to. They are mainly all the standard cliche things like the crack of the bat, the sound of the ball hitting the catcher mitt, the gentle chatter in the crowd and the roar of a home run being hit.
Moving away from the game itself, I think I’m most looking forward to the food and drink. Being a big lover of food, especially consuming it, the idea of a 2ft hot dog, a river of nachos and of course sampling cracker jacks for the first time really excites me. Alongside the culinary delights, is the opportunity to sample some of America’s finest craft beers. There will also be the special London Series brew that is being made specifically for the games. All this talk of food and drink really makes my mouth water.
Batting second is Darius Austin.
For many of us, the London Series is going to be a success no matter what. After years, in some cases decades, of following the game from afar, the prospect of getting together with other British-based baseball fans to watch the game we love on our doorstep is tremendously exciting.
There’s going to be a large contingent of people who aren’t in that position at all, however. Many will be introduced to baseball for the first time, with many more only tangentially familiar with the game.
I’m therefore really looking forward to the reactions from this crowd of rather unusual composition, and indeed from the players involved. What is the response going to be when a home run is hit, and how often will the crowd – or indeed the players – think a home run has been hit? Will fans be less impressed by a barehanded play, having seen more impressive feats regularly in cricket, but dazzled by the possibilities a glove brings to the art of fielding? Which excellent player will be dubbed ‘rubbish’, or something much less family-friendly, after an 0-for-4? How tense will the atmosphere get when a 3-2 count comes up with a man in scoring position in a tie game? What strange quirks will the London Stadium offer for the players?
There’s something fascinating about dropping this very familiar game and players into a brand-new environment. I can’t wait to find out what everyone makes of it.
In the hole, Ben Carter
I mean where to begin really? I haven’t seen the response that Tom has given but can only assume he’s gotten overly emotional about this whole weekend, so I’ll spare you that… for now. But let’s just say watching the most storied rivalry in Major League history play out in London this weekend will be one of the most surreal and fulfilling moments of my life. What more could I really ask for?
Well… as we’re on the subject, how about two close games that show off the best of baseball? Clutch hitting; fiery pitching; soaring home runs and jaw-dropping catches. An Aaron Judge bomb and a JBJ web gem; Tanaka dazzling and Devers smiling and smiling until his chubby little cheeks fill the big screen.
How about hatchos and beer snakes and mexican waves – oh and people getting really upset about mexican waves?
How about poorly judged cricket comparisons, groan worthy British puns and nauseating questions about ‘how can you call it the World Series when only one country takes part’?
How about the best and the worst and everything in between. A cocktail of hardcores and casuals, OPS+ and RBI(‘)s, hot dogs and cask ales, a cacophony of noise, an assault of the senses… and above all something totally unique and weird and ours.
Or maybe just how about the rain stays away?
And here to clean up, as usual, John McGee
How do I top my esteemed colleagues, who as ever have thought of everything?
We’ll, what I’m looking forward to has already started happening. This light, this ray pointing directly at us. Not me for once. Or Ben. Or Darius. Or Tom. But British baseball people. The hardcore. This is for them. The guys who’ve been here for years, put in the time and done the back breaking work for the sport just because they love it.
Guys like Jonathan Cramman – the man who built the pitching mound in Finsbury Park and is now a New York Times feature star. And John Boyd, whose 20 years of indefatigable service at BSUK we’re topped this morning as he shared a platform with Rob Bloody Manfred to promote a grassroots revolution in British baseball.
It’s for Brad Marcelino, Kris Bryant’s college hitting coach in San Diego, and GB Baseball’s too! And Vaughan Harris, reliever for the Sydney Blue Sox…and Great Britain. And for the chance this series gives them to reconnect.
And it’s for the incredible Liam ‘First Pitch’ Carroll in MLB greys at a lickety spit Farnham Park stewarding the best of Europe’s baseball talent. No picture will make me grin with unbridled emotion like that he posted of his coaching getup.
This weekend is about inspiring a new generation of baseball fans and players. But we should pause a minute and thank these guys for their efforts – they have so much work yet to do.