Major League Baseball has canceled its London Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The teams were set to play two matches at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium, on June 13 and 14.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred made the statement in a memorandum sent to MLB employees last Wednesday.
“We made the decision because it was unlikely the events would go forward, and timely cancellation allowed us to preserve important financial resources,” Manfred wrote. “We also have canceled agreements with service providers and delayed projects that involve large capital expenditures.”
MLB played in Europe for the first time last June 29-30, when the New York Yankees swept a pair of matches from the Boston Red Sox in London.
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The Cardinals won the National League Central last season. The Cubs made a push late but then faded to conclude third.
Opening Day was to have been March 26, but MLB has delayed the start of its campaign until mid-May at the earliest. The NBA, NHL and all other major sports leagues are presently on hold. Like the United States, Great Britain has been hard hit by the virus.
MLB had already canceled two series programmed for this season, in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The San Diego Padres had been scheduled to play the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 18-19 in Mexico City, and the New York Mets were supposed to play the Miami Marlins on April 28-30 in San Juan. The games will be reprogrammed for the home teams’ sites in Arizona and Miami, MLB said.
Manfred also referenced last week’s agreement with the players’ association in which teams agreed to provide $170 million in advance pay and the union agreed not to make claims for additional pay. As part of the deal, if the season is scrapped, players would receive service time for 2020 matching what they received in 2019.
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