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MLB Scraps Plans For London Game In 2017

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The league could still do this sometime in the future.

Olympic Stadium in London, England, a potential venue for future MLB games -- but not in 2017
Olympic Stadium in London, England, a potential venue for future MLB games -- but not in 2017
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Last winter, Commissioner Rob Manfred noted in an interview that Major League Baseball was looking into playing regular-season games in London as part of expanding the game's presence internationally. Monday, it was revealed that won't happen, but not for lack of desire to do so:

Dan Halem, MLB's chief legal officer, said discussions would continue about playing matches overseas.

But he said there was not enough time to agree a deal for the 2017 season.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in January that talks had begun about matches being played in London, but ongoing collective bargaining negotiations and next spring's World Baseball Classic are believed to have halted them.

Those are definitely things that are higher on MLB's agenda than playing a couple of international games, though previous games of that nature played in Japan and Australia have been popular in those countries and have provided great exposure for the game. This article provides a bit more detail and a quote from Halem:

"We did not have enough time to work out all the details to play in London in 2017," Halem said. "We continue to discuss international play with the union, including playing games in London."

I continue to be a strong advocate for games like this and for things like the World Baseball Classic, which promote the game internationally. I had hoped the Cubs would have been one of the teams involved in a 2017 London series, and perhaps they still will in the future, but the linked article above notes:

MLB officials looked at the renovated Olympic Stadium as a possible venue. The Red Sox likely would have been one of the teams involved.

Uh-oh. Please tell me that doesn't mean it would be Yankees/Red Sox in London. We get enough of that on this side of the pond.