Baseball fans are everywhere. We are not freaks obsessed with a minority sport. We are young, old, athletic, sedentary, analytical, illogical. We are boys, we are girls, we are women, and we are men. Baseball fans come in all shapes and sizes, and the number of us is increasing.
The two MLB games in London last year attracted 118,000 spectators, and the whole MLB London Series week generated 13.95 million social media impressions. In any world, that’s a big number.
So when the news broke that London was to have its first baseball-themed bar with batting cages, excitement within the growing band of UK baseball fans was palpable.
Situated in Westfield, Stratford, Home Run House is little more than an Aaron Judge blast away from the stadium where the St Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will meet on 13/14 June for this year’s London Series.
And as it is Stratford, there is plenty of parking and excellent public transport links.
The venue itself is open and inviting, and in the words of a wise attendee, “It’s a cool space”.
Check out the clip below, courtesy of Dave Shaw from @UKPhillies.
At the entrance, caps, hats and t-shirts were on display in “The Clubhouse Shop”. Apparel for all 30 MLB teams was available, even the Yankees.
One inside, there are bleachers, big screens and plenty of tables. The bar was, as you would expect, stacked with choices: Passyunk Pils, Budweiser and Goose Island IPA, to name just three.
And if you felt peckish, authentic ballpark snacks ranging from hot dogs to nachos to pretzels were available.
Even without the cages, it’s a great place to come, but let’s be honest, it’s the batting cages that caused the most excitement.
Four, brand-new, state-of-the-art batting cages with customised software allowing you to select different skill levels, speed of fielders, ballparks etc.
So, if you happen to be a lefty with pull tendencies, you can choose to hit at Yankee Stadium with its short porch in right field.
Tapping home plate started the flow of one pitch every 12 seconds. It was very user-friendly, with even the unlikeliest characters able to make contact.
And there were some very satisfied customers when the screens animating the action showed flyballs clearing the wall and nestling in the seats.
The place was so good, I’ve already arranged to go back next week.
Open from noon until 11:00 pm every day; Don’t miss the special introductory prices Home Run House is offering until the end of February.
And to paraphrase Field of Dreams “They built it, we came … you should too.”
Photos & clips courtesy Dave Shaw, MLB UK Community, Alex Hoad and Bat Flips and Nerds
Gavin is one of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @_tramps
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