We've seen (American) football games on baseball fields. But how can you transform a massive soccer stadium into a venue for an MLB game?
We're finding out, as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will face off at London Stadium this weekend in MLB's first-ever games in Europe.
That means stadium crews have had to lay down dirt and artificial turf to change the home of West Ham United into a baseball field. And apparently it's coming together quite nicely.
Here's a look at a few photos from inside the stadium:
The pitch is looking class.
— MLB (@MLB) June 22, 2019
The logo is down. London, it's time to batter up, the #LondonSeries is almost here. Tickets are still available for both games, June 29-30: https://t.co/2ZbfT6xqye#MLB#Baseball#Londonpic.twitter.com/l3vapaAtMG
— MLB London (@mlblondonseries) June 24, 2019
140,000 square feet of artificial turf, 400 meters of fencing, 345 tons of dirt, 18-meter tall foul poles, a backstop, batting cages, dugouts, stadium artwork and temporary clubhouses.
— Front Office Sports (@frntofficesport) June 25, 2019
MLB senior field coordinator and consultant Murray Cook, who led the London Stadium project, likened the transformed field to a "ballpark-in-a-box" that essentially plops an entire ballpark in the middle of an oval pitch.
"Under the armor deck is the track-and-field venue and this multimillion-dollar soccer pitch; we can't anchor or dig any holes," Cook told ESPN.com's Marly Rivera. "So everything has to be balanced or weighted to support all the fencing structure and foul poles."
The on-field dimensions are pretty standard (if slightly small): 385 feet to center field and 330 feet down each line. But the one unique aspect will be the massive amount of foul territory on either side that Cook compared to the Oakland Coliseum. There's also a 16-foot wall in center field that Cook calls a "mini Green Monster." (The Red Sox are the home team, after all.)
There's still work to be done ahead of the first game Friday, but this "ballpark-in-a-box" seems almost ready to host the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry on foreign soil.
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