Red Sox star Mookie Betts meets distant relative Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex

Red Sox star Mookie Betts meets distant relative Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex

More than a year ago, The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham reported that Mookie Betts may be distantly related to the Meghan Markle, the American-born Duchess of Sussex, who is married to Britain's Prince Harry.

“That would be cool to meet her. I wonder if she’s a baseball fan?” Betts told Abraham at the time when he relayed the news, which came from the work of Burlington, Mass., amateur genealogist Jim McNiff.

Today in London, ahead of the Red Sox and Yankees first-ever MLB series there, Mookie met Meghan.

If not kissing cousins, at least hugging cousins now.

According to McNiff, the ancestors of Betts and Markle were from the same part of Alabama more than 150 years ago. 
 

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Red Sox-Yankees London Series: How to watch the games

Red Sox-Yankees London Series: How to watch the games

The Yankees and Red Sox are taking their "old rivalry to new ground" as t-shirts for the London Series say.

The rivals will play the first Major League Baseball games in Europe today and Sunday at London Stadium, site of Olympic track and field in the 2012 Games.

Here's how to watch the historic game today:

On TV: 1:10 p.m., FOX

Livestream: FOXSportsGo 

And Sunday:

On TV: 10 a.m., ESPN

Livestream: Watch ESPN app

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Cozy dimensions, hot weather could make it Home Run Derby for Red Sox, Yankees in London

Cozy dimensions, hot weather could make it Home Run Derby for Red Sox, Yankees in London

It's no short porch like right field Yankee Stadium (supposedly 314 feet) or left field at Fenway (an oft-disputed 310), but the cozy dimensions for the first Major League Baseball game in Europe at London Stadum - and a record heat wave across the continent - could send balls flying across the pond today.

Add in MLB's record home run pace (teams had combined for 3,311 entering the weekend and the 1,135 in May were the most ever in a month) and with the Yankees entering the two-game series with the Red Sox having homered in a record 29 consecutive games, and it could be a challenge to keep the ball in the park.

It's just 385 feet to center field (shorter than any MLB park) and 330 down each line. The fence is 16 feet high (compared to say, Camden Yards in Baltimore's 7-foot fences). Also, the stadium is encircled with an overhang that includes metal rings - the outfield ones are 400 feet from home plate and 100 feet high - reachable by a batted ball.

Perhaps offsetting the cozy dimensions is the expansive foul ground. More than any MLB stadium and 3,000 more square feet than the Oakland Coliseum, which has the most foul territory in the majors. Still, it's tight behind the plate with only 43 feet to the backstop from the plate, the third-shortest distance compared to MLB fields.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone seemed more concerned with the speed of the artificial surface that was installed over the natural grass soccer field.

They'll be a few touches of home - "Sweet Caroline" will be played in the eighth inning - and borrowing from the Washington Nationals' between inning "Racing Presidents", this one will feature the enlarged heads of British icons Winston Churchill, Henry VIII, the Loch Ness Monster and Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in a sprint around the Olympic track that encircles the field.

Which team will the crowd of 60,000-plus in temperatures nearing 90 be pulling for? Red Sox season ticket holders purchased an average of 5,831 seats for each game and Yankees season ticket holders 4,752. 

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