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Baseball MVP Paul Goldschmidt promises derby vibes for MLB London games as Cardinals face Cubs

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 12/6/2022 Matt Majendie
20220622RT_9429783.jpg © MLB Photos via Getty Images 20220622RT_9429783.jpg

The last time Paul Goldschmidt was in London, top of his wish list was a trip to Stamford Bridge. This time, his focus is on London Stadium.

Major League Baseball’s reigning National League MVP is the top draw for the St. Louis Cardinals when they take on the Chicago Cubs in one of the sport’s more storied rivalries over two June games in the capital.

And eight years on from his last visit to London, Goldschmidt is relishing the opportunity of a similar atmosphere.

“My wife and I came in 2014 to London for four days’ vacation,” he said. “Chelsea played Arsenal at Chelsea – that was my one request for our trip, my wife took the rest.

“Chelsea won that match, and it was really cool for us to be able to take that in. It was very similar [to MLB]. There’s the walk to the stadium, you have the crowd outside and there’s all the energy and atmosphere and celebration. It’s how it is for the Cardinals and Cubs.

“Hopefully the fans will be excited. With 162 games in a season, sometimes it feels the same. This is something that’s not happening ever year and day over there. This is a once in a lifetime moment for us to play baseball in a place where baseball’s not normally played. We love games that are different where the crowds are big and there’s a different energy.”

The Cardinals and Cubs’ first World Series meeting dates back to 1885. It is a rivalry that was meant to hit London considerably sooner before the Covid pandemic.

And the three-year delay has only ramped up the excitement for the Cardinals’ slugger.

“In America, it’s one of the most storied rivalries in sport,” he said. “The fan bases are so close. We’re only three hours away… families root for different teams, there are fans who are neighbours. Both teams have been around for 100-plus years and it’s really fun to be a part of that.”

Goldschmidt is already endearing himself to any English fans by turning his support to Gareth Southgate’s men at the World Cup in Qatar following the USA’s exit at the group stages.

“Now that the US lost, I’d love to see England win,” he said. “I know it’s been a while.”

St. Louis Cardinals will play Chicago Cubs in the MLB World Tour: London Series 2023 on June 24 – 25 at London Stadium. Tickets are available now at ticketmaster.co.uk/mlb

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