Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Major League Baseball has determined that there will not be enough time to install a grass playing field at Olympic Stadium in London for the two-game series between the Red Sox and Yankees next month, meaning the two teams will play on artificial turf for the first time in their head-to-head history.

The Red Sox and Yankees will play in London on June 29 and June 30, with the Red Sox serving as the home team. It will be the first regular season MLB games played in Europe.

League officials have access to Olympic Stadium, the home of West Ham United in the English Premier League, for 21 days prior to the two-game set. MLB has five days to clear out after the games are played, leading to the decision to play on turf instead of grass.

According to the Associated Press, MLB is bringing in nearly 142,000 square feet of field turf from France, clay for the pitchers mound and home plate from a company in Pennsylvania, and additional infield materials from companies in Chicago and Wisconsin. The U.S. materials were shipped across the Atlantic in April and arrived in England in May.

Baseball plans to play another series in London in 2020, which also played a role in the decision to use field turf instead of natural grass. The turf will be installed again next year.

The participants in the 2020 series have not been announced, but MLB is reportedly looking at the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.