Mets in London


Sean Kingsepp

Newly elected London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, graced the United States with his presence this week and took in a New York Mets game while he was at it. After throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday, Khan spoke with Mets owner Fred Wilpon about possibly playing at London’s Olympic Stadium in the near future. 

Major League Baseball has played multiple games outside of the continental US (not including Canada) over the past decade and a half, including games in Japan, Mexico, and Australia. Plans to continue international expansion have stalled in recent years, but this statement by Khan might be implying some current scheduling plans. In Australia, MLB has been able to start a league which has been quite successful over the past few years. The former British colony has also hosted MLB games in the past.

While the National Football League has big plans for their international games, playing four games a year in London with more planned for China and beyond, baseball is already arguably a more international sport. The World Baseball Classic has proven that baseball is a way of life in other countries like Cuba and Japan. Khan wants to prove London, and Britain as a whole, will not be effected by Brexit and should be known as “the sporting capital of the world.”  After hosting a successful Olympics in 2012, London wishes to remain in the spotlight.  Great Britain has been quite mediocre in baseball over the past few World Baseball Classics, including a failure to qualify in 2013. If they do want to be an international landing spot for Major League Baseball, they may need to become a bit more successful in the sport.
As baseball’s popularity stagnates in the United States, the world still seems ripe for the taking. Globalization in sport has never been more apparent, and yet we have yet to see a truly international league.  There are many tournaments which cross continents, but leagues often remain bound by international waters. Leagues in the United States and in some other continents feature international players and have played exhibition games outside of their homes, but the logistics of an international league remain to be too much to overcome at the current time.