From the bank to the big smoke: How the Phillies are preparing for London Series against the Mets

Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos is cheered at second base after he doubled in the winning run in the 10th inning of the team’s baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

The Philadelphia Phillies have been tough for anyone to slow down this season. The National-League leaders are taking their talents and extending a rivalry overseas as they get ready to face the New York Mets in a two-game series in London, England this coming weekend.

Phillies players, coaches, and staff will be traveling 3,454 miles from home to take on their division rival who makes their home just 110 miles up I-95. Manager Rob Thomson provided some insight into the team’s travel plans over the weekend:

“[We play at 4 [on Wednesday]. As soon as that game’s over, we’ll load up and go to the airport. Probably get to the hotel at 10:00 am or so. We have a function that night, and then we work out on Friday, play Saturday-Sunday, and then fly back to Boston the afternoon on Sunday.

Rob Thomson pregame media scrum, 01Jun2024

After flying about five-and-a-half hours home from San Francisco for their current six-game home stand, their roughly seven hour flight to London won’t feel too strange. But the amount of time zone changes in such a short time – Thomson noted roughly 18 different time zones between Colorado, San Fran, Philly, London, and back – is not common for most major leaguers, which is why the organization held meetings with the players to emphasize the importance of being strict in sticking to advice of experts and the club’s medical staff on how to approach this weekend’s series and travel.

Thomson shed some light about what was discussed during the team meeting Saturday:

“Essentially, it’s sleeping on the plane going over. We’ve got 100-some lay down-type seats. Sleeping there-getting up, moving around once we get there. Try to acclimate to that time period. And then coming back, it’s almost the opposite. We’re gonna get in at 10 o’clock in Boston that night, then try to get back on Eastern time.

Phillies Bryce harper
Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper argues with second base umpire Vic Carpazza, right, as manager Rob Thomson, back right, listens after Harper was ejected for arguing after striking out to end the top of the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, May 24, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Rob Thomson pregame media scrum, June 2, 2024

The Phillies’ manager was asked if he will take one of those lay down seats on the flight: “No, make sure that all the players and the wives get them first.” A true leader.

There is a ton of excitement around the London Series. Philly Sports Network’s own Liam Jenkins put together the ultimate guide to the weekend – including tailgates, watch parties, how to get to London Stadium, and more. This will be the third series Major League Baseball has held over in London, with the first coming in 2019. @UKPhillies on ‘X’ also shared some details about some special events being held to celebrate the series:

More than just a series for the Phillies

The excitement isn’t just with the fans. The players are getting excited about the opportunity to grow the game internationally, as well ready to show the passion they and Philly has for the game. Thomson spoke about the excitement prior to Saturday’s game as well:

We offered the guys who aren’t pitching in London if they wanted to stay back, and they all want to go. [everyone’s] excited. I’m glad that they are excited because it might effect your performance if everybody’s like ‘ah, this is a pain in the neck'”

Rob Thomson, pregame media scrum June 2, 2024

Every game counts, whether it be in the US or the UK. Rivalry games are tough on any soil, and the Phillies have done everything they can to prepare for the adversity. When a team is going for a World Series, every decision can be magnified on the field. This weekend, there is a big decision to come off the field as well. Pay close attention to the first pitch on Sunday:

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson