Major League Baseball (MLB) has cancelled a two-game series at London Stadium between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The teams had been scheduled to play at West Ham’s ground between 13 and 14 June.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement in a memo to MLB employees on Wednesday.
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MLB said on 19 March that it had also scrapped series in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“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 on Wednesday. “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, when the New York Yankees swept a pair of games from the Boston Red Sox at West Ham’s stadium.
The opening day of the MLB season was to set to be 26 March, but that has been delayed until mid-May at the earliest.
Manfred also referenced last week’s agreement with the players’ association, with teams agreeing to provide $170 million in advance pay, while the union agreed not to make claims for additional pay. As part of the deal, if the season is scrapped, players will receive service time for 2020, matching what they received in 2019.
“The agreement provided much needed certainty to our clubs and avoided a confrontation with the players’ association at a time when our country has limited tolerance for petty squabbles,” Manfred wrote. “Most important, I truly believe that the agreement is a necessary first step toward getting the game back on the field.”
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