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MLB officially announces next year’s Yankees-Red Sox series in London

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This has been the worst-kept secret in the world, but this morning Major League Baseball officially announced that the Yankees will meet the Red Sox in London for a two-game regular season series next year.

The will be played on June 29-30 at London Stadium, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. The Red Sox will be the home team, not that it really matters. Estimated capacity of London Stadium for the series will be 55,000 mostly confused British people. The press release says the stadium will “take on a baseball configuration for the event,” which, well, I would hope so.

The series next year will not be a one-and-done, either. MLB and the London mayor’s office have agreed to a two-year deal that will include another series in London in 2020, with participating teams to be announced. The release notes that “other initiatives that will aim to establish a footprint in the city” will also be scheduled. Here’s hoping it’s not just another Train or Fall Out Boy concert. MLB has gone to that well too many times.

There were obligatory quotes from Rob Manfred, Tony Clark and the team owners, but you’ve heard them a million times. Here’s The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s comment:

“I am absolutely delighted that we have secured this historic agreement for Major League Baseball to come to London in 2019 and 2020. All the hard work has paid off. There is no better way to start the London Series and the first Major League Baseball fixture in Europe than a clash between two heavyweights of international sport – the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This is a major coup demonstrating, once again, that London is the sporting capital of the world and I am excited about a new partnership with MLB and the long term future of this sport in our great city.”

No word if, after he called London “the sporting capital of the world,” a bunch of Boston and New York fans clogged up talk radio to say they were being “disrespected.” But yeah, they probably did.

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.