Could the Nationals be headed across the pond for one summer series in 2020? It appears to be a legitimate possibility.
Major League Baseball is considering two potential matchups for its planned London Series in June 2020, either the Nationals vs. the Mets or the Cubs vs. the Cardinals, according to the Associated Press.
The report, citing two people familiar with the discussions, suggested an announcement on the final matchup is expected after opening day this year.
In its attempt to spread the sport around the globe, MLB has been adding more international games to its regular season slate. The Athletics and Mariners will open this season March 20-21 in Tokyo, and Monterrey, Mexico will host a pair of series: Cardinals vs. Reds on April 13-14, Astros vs. Angels on May 4-5. Then the Yankees and Red Sox will head to London for a historic, two-game series June 29-30.
This will be the first time MLB has ever held regular season games in Europe, and it intends to make this an annual tradition. The sport’s collective bargaining agreement includes a provision mandating a June series in London in both 2019 and 2020.
The league selected its most storied rivalry for this year’s inaugural series at 55,000-seat London Stadium, with the Red Sox technically serving as the home team and the Yankees as the visitors for both games. The decision on next year’s matchup could boil down to one simple question: Does MLB prefer to send two more teams from major East Coast markets (including a repeat for New York), or does it prefer to send two Midwestern rivals instead?
The Nationals have never played outside of the continental United States and Canada in their first 14 seasons of existence, but as the Expos they played 22 games apiece in Puerto Rico in 2003 and 2004.
If they aren’t selected for the London Series, the Nationals could still find themselves playing abroad at some point in 2020. MLB also plans for another season-opening series in Asia (though West Coast teams usually make that trip), plus April games in Mexico and May games in either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.