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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Yankees and Red Sox will meet twice at London Stadium this weekend in the first Major League Baseball games ever played in Europe.

Why it matters: Since taking office four years ago, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has vowed to increase baseball's international presence, and the London Series is the league's most ambitious effort yet.

  • Previous trips abroad included Japan and Mexico, both of which have robust baseball cultures. By comparison, most people in the U.K. know next to nothing about the sport, something MLB views as both a challenge and an opportunity.

Details: MLB is making baseball education a priority this weekend, while also ensuring that fans get the true "ballpark experience."

  • Education: Explanations of certain plays will appear on the scoreboard, and concession stands will sell portable radios to help confused spectators follow along.
  • Experience: Groundskeepers will dance to "Y.M.C.A." ... Fans will sing "Sweet Caroline" ... "The Freeze" is flying in from Atlanta to chase down some fans ... There will be a mascot race between Freddie Mercury, Winston Churchill, King Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster.

Also, get this: Vendors walking up and down the aisle is a foreign concept to most Londoners, so concession workers have been trained on how to make fans feel comfortable paying from their seats.

"We're going to ask people to hand their money down the row of strangers and then have a bag of peanuts tossed over to them by a hawker. That's not something they're used to."
— Charlie Hill, VP of MLB International (via NYT)

Where they'll be playing:

Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

London Stadium is a 60,000 seat stadium in the Stratford district that was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics and is currently home to West Ham United of the English Premier League.

  • "The area on the ground, including the running track, is so vast that it required 141,900 square feet of artificial turf, imported from France, to cover it, plus the infield dirt and clay shipped in from Slippery Rock, Pa," per NYT.
  • "One unique feature is that home plate will be on one side of the oval — not one of the ends — creating vast amounts of foul territory. Most fields in oval-shaped stadiums, like the old Polo Grounds and Olympic Stadium in Montreal, had home plate tucked into one end, or in a corner."

Go deeper: Baseball's season of extremes

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 219-213 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.

The new grifters: outrage profiteers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Republicans lost the Senate and narrowly missed retaking the House, millions of dollars in grassroots donations were diverted to a handful of 2020 congressional campaigns challenging high-profile Democrats that, realistically, were never going to succeed.

Why it matters: Call it the outrage-industrial complex. Slick fundraising consultants market candidates contesting some of their party’s most reviled opponents. Well-meaning donors pour money into dead-end campaigns instead of competitive contests. The only winner is the consultants.