NEW YORK – The traditional rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will take a radical twist when they meet in London next month: They will play on artificial turf for the first time in more than 2,200 games.
Major League Baseball has access to the Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the matches on June 29 and 30, the sport's first regular seasonal contests in Europe and only five days after clearing out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.
From June 6, gravel will be placed over the deck, which protects the West Ham grass field and the running track, which is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial grass baseball field similar to the modern surfaces used by some large league clubs will be installed on top.
"It's the first Yankees-Red Sox game out of the country, so why not many firsts?" New York pitcher CC Sabathia said. "I think it will be fine."
Laughing at the canopy and home plate area comes from DuraEdge in Slippery Rock, Pa. Turface Athletics near Chicago provides the soil, while high tampers, infield traits and seams are from Beacon Athletics in Middleton, Wisc. The US materials, including 345 tons of dirt in 18 40 foot containers, left Port Elizabeth, N.J., in the third week of April and arrived on May 18 in the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk, about 95 miles from London. Fence upholstery was manufactured at Covermaster outside Toronto and shipped from Montreal.
"We looked very hard at making a natural grass system," Cook said. "We go with a synthetic system and it helps us in some ways. It's a little more sustainable because we go back next year. If we went with a natural grass system, we had to bulldoze it all, throw it away and Then buy it again, build it all and throw it away again. "
Only three of the 30 major league teams play on artificial surfaces – Toronto, Tampa Bay and Arizona. Rogers Center in Toronto and Tropicana Field in St. St. Petersburg, Fla., Has never had grass. Arizona changed this season from grass to grass, like Texas, when its new ballpark opens next spring.
The Olympic stadium, which the fixed ballparks, will have full dirt instead of the square dirt floats that are popular under the artificial grass height – there was a high of 10 synthetic fields in the major leagues from 1977-78 and again from 1982 -94.
"I suppose it's like Toronto or Tampa, so it shouldn't be a problem," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Toronto has played at AstroTurf 3D Xtreme since 2016 and Tampa Bay at Shaw Sports Turf since 2017. Arizona switched from grass to Shaw Sports B1K this year and Texas will use Shaw Sports Turf as it moves into the new Globe Life Field next year.
"If we had never played on grass, it would be different, but we have played on grass," said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
New York and Boston have played 2,196 times with four games at Yankee Stadium for May 30 to Ju ne 2. New York has a 1,191-991 edge with 14 bands, plus a 12-11 advantage in postseason matchups.
Boston is the home team for both games in London, but the Yankees and the Red Sox will both have their white home uniforms. When the Yankees last played abroad in an opening two-game series in the Tokyo Dome in 2004, New York wore home buys and Devil Rays Road Grays, although Tampa Bay was the home team and beat last.
Foul poles, a blowing eye, a backstop and fences will be erected along with two dugouts – the Red Sox on the first base side and the Yankees on the third. Temporary clubhouses will be built on the heating track under the stands – the soccer teams are too small – along with batting cages. Because holes cannot be made in the track, weights will secure the fence, similar to what was installed, when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Diamondbacks played in 2014 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
Cook helped convert The Oval, a London cricket ground opened in 1845, for games between Boston and New York Mets minor leaguers in October 1993 – the first of two was calculated.
The Olympic Stadium will also be the site of major league matches in 2020 – a series between Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals is the leading candidate.
"In this way, we have a synthetic turf system that has two games this year, two games of the next year, and then the commissioner can do what he wants to do with the system, whether he wants another event somewhere. , sell it or donate it or whatever they want to do, "Cook said.
The field targets will be 330 feet down each foul line, but only 385 feet to center with a 16 foot wall.
We've done all home run course studies, ”Kog said. "We get comparable distances."
Red Sox leftfielder Andrew Benintendi figured the best way for Boston pitchers to keep the Yankees from hitting back home.
"Just keep the ball on the ground, I think," he said.