Anthony Santander
(Nick Wass / AP)

Anthony Santander Has A Huge Following In England

Back in an August 2019 game against the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles left fielder Anthony Santander took his position. He noticed something odd, however. Whenever he would make a play in the outfield on fly balls, thunderous applause would greet him from a certain section. He turned and looked around with it revealed to be 4,000 fans of his.

These fans turned out to be U.K. scouts, similar to boy or cub scouts here in America. They all wore red, white, and blue scarves and comprised of older volunteers as well as kids, just enjoying their first baseball game. How did Santander and the Orioles attract all these fans?

Well, you’d have to start with an English man named Matt Casbolt. He attended a triple-A game in Nashville a few years back. Casbolt didn’t know what to expect on his holiday but fell in love with the game at that moment. After the game, he decided he needed to choose a team to root for. He put all 30 MLB teams in a hat and landed upon the Baltimore Orioles.

He embraced the team, going as far as making a fan page called the British Baltimore Orioles fan in April 2019. It now has 1,646 followers. Why is Santander a folk hero though? It’s due to how he became one of the team leaders for the 108 loss Orioles in 2019. He powered 20 home runs that season and 11 in shortened 2020 play. He’s also very active on social media, engaging with the newfound English baseball fans.

MLB is broadening its reach around the globe for the sport. England is a country where baseball has had little exposure up until recently. In 2019, the London Series took place with the Red Sox versus the Yankees. All the games were entirely sold out. In 2020, the Cubs were due to play the Cardinals in another London-based series, but COVID-19 got in the way. It’ll be exciting to see baseball’s impact on the country going forward.

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