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Baseball bodies organise London festival to reach more European fans

By Matthew Campelli    05 Jun 2017
Carlos Pena will take part in the festival / Chris Young/The Canadian Press/PA Images

Major League Baseball (MLB) and BaseballSoftballUK will host a Fourth of July festival in London’s Hyde Park in an attempt to boost local interest in the sport.

Called MLB Battlegrounds, the festival will feature a ‘Home Run Derby’ featuring former MLB stars from the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers franchises, including Carlos Pena, Cliff Floyd and Shawn Green.

A Home Run Derby is a traditional feature of MLB All-Star Weekend where participants try to hit the most home runs against the clock.

The free event will also feature street food and music.

John Boyd, chief executive of BaseballSoftballUK, said the festival was an “opportunity” for the sport to reach the general public.

MLB has also been trying to arrange a regular season game in the UK to accommodate a growing fanbase in Europe in a similar fashion to National Football League (NFL) matches being played at Wembley and Twickenham.

Charlie Hill, managing director of MLB Europe, said: “This represents an exciting statement of intent to grow Major League Baseball in Europe.

“Hyde Park is the perfect location to bring a flavour of our game to London.”

MLB  baseball  BaseballSoftballUK  London 
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