In a regular world, a world not ravaged by the coronavirus, the Cardinals would be in London right now. They’d be doing some clinics, trying to spread interest and enjoyment in a land that’s not used to their sport. I bet we’d have seen Matt Carpenter take a shot at cricket and perhaps some pictures of Dexter Fowler and Harrison Bader hanging around Big Ben. The games weren’t until Saturday and Sunday, meaning this would have been a quiet week for Cardinal fans anyway, with two days off before and a day off after.
I know there wasn’t universal acclaim for the idea of playing in England, but I liked the idea. Seeing the Cardinals in a new locale is always kind of fun (this is the whole reason we have interleague play, right?) and being the team that everyone is focusing on because of the exotic location (compared to normal baseball spots, at least) is a cool thing as well. If last year’s games between the Yankees and Red Sox were any indication, it might have been a chance to see more offense than we were used to, especially as the 2020 Cardinals were still trying to figure out where the offense was going to come from when spring training was shut down.
Which raises the question–will they go back? Will baseball try to go overseas in 2021? I doubt it–there’s likely to be too much unknown about the virus when the 2021 schedule needs to be made up, plus those sort of things are usually in the works for a while. Granted, in this situation it’s really more of a “take your plans and move them” rather than make new ones, but 2021 seems out. If not only health reasons, no owner (and Bill DeWitt isn’t likely to be an exception) will want to lose home dates next year as they try desperately to make up for the significant reduction in revenue from this season. Even a couple of games won’t be acceptable.
I’m guessing it won’t happen in 2022 either. With a contentious labor battle on the horizon, baseball would be foolish to schedule such a showcase when there could be strikes/lockouts that would impact it.
It feels like, to me, the first time we could see the Cards/Cubs head across the pond would be 2023. I’m sure those fans in England that were looking forward to this series aren’t thrilled about that idea, but with everything else that is going on, I just don’t believe baseball will try to do anything that big for a while. Maybe in ’23 Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman will provide the thump to give Jack Flaherty (in what could be his last season as a Cardinal) and Matthew Liberatore some foreign victories!