We’ve been covering the rumours of MLB coming to Britain for a couple of years and they picked up again a few months ago with more definite reports on timescales and venues, namely the potential use of the Olympic Stadium in 2017.
At the time, MLB itself was being coy about all of this talk, in the standard ‘neither confirm or deny’ state.
However, that changed yesterday. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has just reached his one year anniversary after taking over from Bud Selig and he has been doing a series of interviews with different reporters as a result.
In one of these with the Associated Press, picked up by ESPN.com, Manfred directly confirmed the plans. As reported by ESPN:
“Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told The Associated Press that the league is looking to play its first regular-season games in London in 2017.
“We are very interested in playing there, and we’re working hard on that one,” Manfred told the AP during an interview on his first anniversary as baseball commissioner. “I don’t think it will be an opener because of the weather issues. It would be later in the season.”
Baseball has been looking at the Olympic Stadium as a possible venue. Manfred wouldn’t discuss the possibility of shifting a high-profile matchup, such as Yankees-Red Sox, to England.
“We haven’t really settled on teams, and I don’t want to speculate about that,” he said. “Obviously, we want to make as good a first impression in Europe as we possibly can.”
So, whilst we don’t know which teams will be here, and it’s not confirmed as yet that everything will be in place for 2017, that definitely counts as strong reason to start getting excited.