MLB Scraps Plans to Play in London in 2017

SAN DIEGO (AP) — London is not calling for Major League Baseball next year.

MLB has given up plans to play regular-season games in the British capital in 2017.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in January that his staff was working hard at playing in London, and MLB officials looked at the renovated Olympic Stadium as a possible venue. The Red Sox likely would have been one of the teams involved.

“There was discussion about London early on,” union head Tony Clark said Monday. “Unfortunately there were a number of moving pieces related to London that shortened our window in an effort to try to find common ground on that happening, and we weren’t able to get it done in time.”

Dan Halem, MLB’s chief legal officer, said that ongoing collective bargaining negotiations and next spring’s World Baseball Classic kept the league from pursuing a London series for next year.

“We did not have enough time to work out all the details to play in London in 2017,” Halem said. “We continue to discuss international play with the union, including playing games in London.”

Clark also was non-committal about having players on 25-man active rosters made available for the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo from July 24-Aug. 9. The International Olympic Committee executive board voted last month to support a six-nation tournament that year in both baseball and women’s softball, and the full IOC is to vote in August.

Baseball became a medal sport for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics but was dropped for the 2012 London Games and won’t be played this year in Rio de Janeiro. In 2008, only those not on 25-man big league rosters as of late June were allowed to compete — the U.S. team included Jake Arrieta and Stephen Strasburg — both All-Stars this year.

“Is there an appreciation for the value of having baseball in the Olympics? Yes, there is,” Clark said. “Is there an appreciation for the season and how or if it could work with our active players? Yeah, there’s a conversation, but we run into the same roadblocks we always have.”

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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