The traditional rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will take a radical turn when they meet in London next month: they will play on a synthetic surface for the first time in more than 2,200 games for more than a century.
The Major Leagues will have access to the Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games scheduled for June 29 and 30, the first of the regular season to be staged in Europe, and only five days later to clear all their deployment. The authorities of the majors determined that there was not enough time to install a natural lawn.
From January 6, a gravel will be installed to protect the soccer field with natural grass from the West Ham club and the athletics track, legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. The artificial surface to play baseball, similar to the one they use a handful of clubs of the majors, will be installed on all this.
"This is the first Yankees-Red Sox out of the country, so why not several unpublished things?" Said Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. "I think it will go well."
Instead, 141,913 square feet of FieldTurf Vertex will be moved by road from June 4 from the company's factory in Auchel, France, just over 150 miles (240 kilometers) to a storage area outside of London, reported Murray Cook, the consultant on surface of the Major Leagues.
Only three of the 30 teams in the majors play on artificial terrains: Toronto, Tampa Bay and Arizona. The Rogers Center in Toronto and the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida have never had turf, and so will Texas when it opens its new stadium next year.
The Olympic Stadium, like the baseball stadiums, will have an interior square of earth instead of the patches that were popular in the golden age of surface lands – the top was 10 synthetic terrains in the majors between 1977-78 and again between 1982 -94.
"I assume it will be similar to Toronto or Tampa, so it will not be a problem," said the Yankees manager.
New York and Boston have played 2,196 games. New York leads 1,191-991 for life, plus a 12-11 advantage in the postseason.
Boston will be the host in both games in London, but both teams will wear their white uniforms at home.