THE chairman of Essex Redbacks hopes that today’s Major League Baseball legends event will result in increased support for the sport.

Vince Warner, who has been the south Essex club’s chairman for the last three years, is excited to see legends of MLB sides Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers compete in London.

Hyde Park will be transformed into a baseball diamond for a quick-fire, Twenty20 cricket-style version of the game never seen before in Europe, on what is American Independence Day.

Baseball legends Carlos Pena, Cliff Floyd and Shawn Green are among the big names that will be in action this afternoon.

And Warner, whose Redbacks sides currently play in front of small crowds, is hoping that the event will put baseball on the British sporting map.

Warner said: “It’s really good to see the MLB legends coming over to the UK because any type of baseball exposure is wanted.

“The sport has had ups and downs over here for the last 30 or 40 years.

“It’s a sport that not many people play or know too much about.

“Baseball doesn’t get a lot of backing from anyone and it would be good to see more people try the sport.

“Youth baseball is really important but not enough schools or clubs offer a system or academy for youngsters to play in.

“I have been playing baseball for more than 50 years and I never had the opportunity to play youth baseball.”

American Football sides in the NFL and basketball teams from the NBA have been travelling to the English capital regularly for a number of years, and support for those sports has since soared in the UK.

A London-based NFL team has even been discussed, but the MLB has never played a regular season game in Europe.

Speculation in recent years suggests that the MLB is looking to follow the NFL and NBA ‘s lead in staging fixtures in London on a yearly basis.

And Warner believes that West Ham United’s London Stadium could host MLB clashes starting from as soon as next year.

Warner added: “The MLB are going to be bringing over some series from next year, so the MLB teams will be coming to the UK.

“It was supposed to start up a few years ago, but their were a few problems with where it was going to be played.

“It is quite likely that the games will be played at the London Stadium, and after the exposure American Football and basketball have got by coming over here and playing a few games, it would be good to see baseball do the same.”