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Swinging away
May 20, 2010 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Swinging Away: How Cricket and Baseball Connect Five minute slideshow with audio from the BBC of historical images to coincide with an exhibition at Lords on the linked histories of the two bat and ball sports.
posted by Abiezer (46 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cricket explained for Americans.
posted by Jimbob at 3:54 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Watching the presentation a second time, the notion of links is a bit tenuous I suppose but some great images and factoids either way.
posted by Abiezer at 4:06 AM on May 20, 2010


The art of batting in cricket is more difficult than baseball batting.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:06 AM on May 20, 2010


The art of batting in cricket is more difficult than [the game of] baseball batting.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:16 AM on May 20, 2010


Definitely agree that watching a few cricket matches is an excellent way to increase your appreciation of baseball - it gives you some very fresh eyes for watching how baseball games are played.
posted by milkrate at 4:16 AM on May 20, 2010


Fuck art. Baseball is baseball.
posted by ouke at 4:32 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cricket a clear leader in the all-important facial hair stakes though, I think we can agree.
posted by Abiezer at 4:34 AM on May 20, 2010


Well, as far as difficulty goes, it kind of depends on how you measure it. It's much harder for a batter (baseball) to score a hit than it is for a batsman (cricket) to make a run. The batsman also has many more options than a batter does. S/he can hit, stay put, not get out, and get another chance next ball. A batsman with an average of 30% would not be considered more than average, if that. Batting .300 is pretty darn good, though...

I think I would say that batting in cricket is more *complex* than batting in baseball.

And honestly, I think it's an apples and oranges comparison, even though I grew up wanting them to be easy equivalents for each other. :)
posted by bardophile at 4:37 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The histories seem more common than connected. I mean so what that cricket had it's own version of baseball's "Babe Ruth?" How does this "connect" the two sports?
posted by three blind mice at 4:40 AM on May 20, 2010


They're different sports, neither better than the other; except cricket, which is better than baseball.
posted by doublehappy at 5:01 AM on May 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here comes the (glitzy, biased) science.
posted by chavenet at 5:18 AM on May 20, 2010


In the US baseball is played by men whilst cricket is played by a few ex-pats (mainly from the West Indies)
In the UK (and the rest of the Commonwealth) cricket is played by Gentlemen (and Players) and Baseball Rounders is played by women.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:22 AM on May 20, 2010


That is more than a bit duff, I have to say, chavenet. Get a spinner on! Or some real pace come to that, not a fat amateur lad. That baseball batter would be out first over swinging like that facing anyone half decent.
posted by Abiezer at 5:28 AM on May 20, 2010


Cricket has far better concept albums.
posted by Damienmce at 5:57 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


When Babe Ruth tried cricket.
posted by rory at 5:59 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do you think I can post Mr B twice in two days...? Yes, I think I jolly well can.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:11 AM on May 20, 2010


Or some real pace come to that, not a fat amateur lad.

You mean like this? Is there anything in cricket to compare to facing six foot eleven inch Randy Johnson standing on a mound ten inches above and sixty feet six inches away, having a two foot long, six inch wide rubber anchor for leverage, throwing a slightly wild, but very hard baseball at your head at 102 Mph?

Of course this is extraordinary even for baseball, but still.
posted by three blind mice at 6:16 AM on May 20, 2010


The art of batting in cricket is more difficult than baseball batting.

The art of batting in cricket is more difficult than [the game of] baseball batting.

They're different sports, neither better than the other; except cricket, which is better than baseball.

In the US baseball is played by men whilst cricket is played by a few ex-pats (mainly from the West Indies)
In the UK (and the rest of the Commonwealth) cricket is played by Gentlemen (and Players) and Baseball Rounders is played by women.


Ah, cricket snobs. The worst kind of snob. Sexist, classist, and dead wrong.
posted by grubi at 6:18 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Of course, tbm. Malcolm Marshall or Curtly Ambrose didn't just have pace, they had variety and movement off the seam and that's why the baseball batter would be fucked taking that kind of stance against even bowling not so sublime as theirs. Not doubting he's got a great eye, but there's a reason batsmen take the stance they do to protect the wicket.
posted by Abiezer at 6:26 AM on May 20, 2010


Your favorite national sport played by overpaid internationals and celebrated by stick up their asses nationalistic Caucasians sucks.
posted by dw at 6:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Your favorite national sport played by overpaid internationals and celebrated by stick up their asses nationalistic Caucasians sucks.

Amen.
posted by nevercalm at 6:48 AM on May 20, 2010


Abiezer: Of course, tbm.

I'm not suggesting that a baseball batter should face a bowler. The link I put up was a relatively famous event, well-known to older baseball fans. Can you show me a famous head shot in a cricket match that compares to the one I put up?

Not a challenge, I am genuinely curious.
posted by three blind mice at 6:53 AM on May 20, 2010


Bowling it at someone's head is a pretty common event in cricket.

That video has absolutely execrable music, I'm afraid.
posted by dng at 7:02 AM on May 20, 2010


YouTube blocked here tbm and my proxy's down but is this the same clip? What about Michael 'Whispering Death' Holding giving Brian Close a right going-over at Old Trafford in 1976 (hope that's the right clip - again couldn't get it to play).
posted by Abiezer at 7:04 AM on May 20, 2010


That'll be the very stick up his arse Caucasian Michael Holding, of course. Heh.
posted by Abiezer at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2010


Not a challenge, I am genuinely curious.

I don't know if this counts as being 'famous'

'I think he'll need a bit of dental work there'

There's plenty more if you search youtube for 'cricket bouncers'. Though things are not so bad since they introduced helmets, and they have tinkered with rules over the years to try and make things less dangerous. If you really want to get into it look up 'bouncers' and 'bodyline' on wikipedia.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2010


George Bernard Shaw preferred baseball: "Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended."

Maybe he'd have felt differently if Twenty20 had been around in his day.
posted by jonesor at 7:16 AM on May 20, 2010


> the notion of links is a bit tenuous I suppose but some great images

Yeah, my sentiments exactly. Great shots of WG with his magisterial facial hair!

Anyone interested in the prehistory of baseball should read Baseball before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game, by David Block, and anyone interested in the early history of baseball should read Peter Morris's But Didn't We Have Fun?: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843-1870. Both books discuss cricket, which was played by a lot of early base-ballers.

It would be great if we could keep the "my favorite game is better than yours" childishness to a minimum. Thanks!
posted by languagehat at 7:18 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can you show me a famous head shot in a cricket match that compares to the one I put up?

How about an entire cricketing tour?

Actually, I can't stand cricket, either playing or watching, but it's a great story.
posted by ZsigE at 7:43 AM on May 20, 2010


Cricket explained for Americans.

Holy cow, maybe it's just the first time that I've really tried to understand it, but I think I actually have an inkling of how cricket is played now. For whatever reason, reading all the Wikipedia articles on cricket and watching one of those "intro to cricket" shows on TV didn't do that for me.

Thanks!
posted by kmz at 7:44 AM on May 20, 2010


That was really enjoyable.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:44 AM on May 20, 2010


In the UK (and the rest of the Commonwealth) cricket is played by Gentlemen (and Players) and Baseball Rounders is played by women.

In North America, field hockey is played exclusively by schoolgirls. Suck it, Britain.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:54 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


British Baseball. Also known as Welsh Baseball - apparently it's not much played in England outside Liverpool.
posted by Phanx at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2010


I always find the snarking between cricket and baseball fans ("rounders", "baseball on valium") kind of sad, because it seems to me that the two sets of fans have quite a lot in common - those who appreciate one sport would, if born in another country, have the same kind of passion for the other. I'm not sure why, just based on the way I've heard serious baseball fans talk about their sport. I wish I knew more about it, but I don't have time to learn and follow another sport.

In North America, field hockey is played exclusively by schoolgirls. Suck it, Britain.


Heh, I hate sports snobberty as much as anyone, and think some of the earlier posts were in pretty poor taste, but: so what? Who do you think plays field hockey in the UK? No-one here cares about it. It's a very minor sport.

I'm not suggesting that a baseball batter should face a bowler. The link I put up was a relatively famous event, well-known to older baseball fans. Can you show me a famous head shot in a cricket match that compares to the one I put up?

If I understand correctly, in baseball, if the ball hits the batter, he gets a walk. In cricket, bowling at the batsman's body is a legitimate tactic, that won't be punished unless it's ongoing. At approx 100mph, from approx 60ft (it's more like 90-95mph, and 22 yards, but close enough). Look up Bodyline, as others have suggested. Look up the West Indies bowling attack, circa 1975-90. Look up Ewen Chatfield (hit in the head (no helmet) and nearly killed).
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:02 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


In North America, field hockey is played exclusively by schoolgirls.

There's a simple reason for that - in North America, the field hockey niche is occupied by lacrosse, which isn't played elsewhere.
posted by zamboni at 8:33 AM on May 20, 2010


Baseball is certainly seems to more dangerous for the pitcher than cricket is for the bowler. I don't ever recall seeing a cricketer take a line drive off the noggin. I love watching both sports, but cricket doesn't have the quantum moments of excitement - the strikeout, the flyball that drifts just foul, the stolen base - that baseball does. But it does have the run-up, I suppose, which is more of a crescendo. And the bowler can go for the batsman's head twice an over. And the beer's better. Don't make me choose, you bastards.
posted by tigrefacile at 11:39 AM on May 20, 2010


@Infinite Jest: As a lover of both baseball and cricket, I agree with you about the silliness of cricket vs baseball snarkiness.

In cricket, there are now rules about bowling to the batsman's head. I don't think they apply to Tests (the five-day version of the game), though.

@tigrefacile: The wicketkeeper flinging himself to either side to take a catch... the batsman getting caught out by the bowler... a big sixer... a batsman getting clean bowled... those are pretty exciting. But I love baseball too.

@fearfulsymmetry: I can think of an awful lot of people from the Indian subcontinent who would not be happy with the characterization of those who play cricket in North America. :)
posted by bardophile at 4:12 PM on May 20, 2010


It's sad that one of the few regions of the world with the open space and weather to feasibly play an entire summer of Test matches without losing a day to rain hasn't embraced cricket. To my mind, cricket could be the perfect American sport. It's athletic chess. It has the ridiculous specialisation, idiosyncratic scoring and nomenclature, and the padding that baseball and gridiron have. It has the elaborate, convoluted, inch-perfect field placement and strategies - the setting of the board - followed by explosive, imperfect execution of those plans. It allows requires the strategic cession of ground to the opponent, it does have the quantum moments of excitement (whatever that means) - the maiden over, the shot that goes just wide of the man diving at backward point for four, the run-out, the six (though devalued now), the opener batting with a tail-ender at the other end, the inside edge, et al., and it has what American sports fans seem to value most of all, a wealth of statistics.

Lord Denning said in Miller v Jackson [1977] that '[i]n summertime ... cricket is the delight of everyone*,' and I'm inclined to agree with him.

That said, I have been trying to understand and enjoy baseball of late - we get some coverage here early mornings - I'm just not there yet.

*Except Mrs Miller.
posted by doublehappy at 4:54 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The histories seem more common than connected.

The biggest connection is the what-could-have-been, had the first international cricket tour hadn't been followed by some unfortunate events in the US that prevented a quick reciprocal or repeat engagement; instead, the unfortunate events' bringing together of people from different states contributed to the growth of baseball, while the English cricketers buggered off down under in search of a match.

Both are made for a day in the stands, or by the radio, appealing to continuous partial attention and a delight in the nostalgic and tangential: a sporting justification for a cheeky afternoon off work.
posted by holgate at 8:08 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, my snark was an intentional troll, so sucks be to you who took a bite.

Cricket vs. baseball snarkiness is silly, especially regarding batting. Baseball fans should just admit cricket batting is more difficult.

• Ball is harder
• Ball has a big seam down the middle which causes it to deviate off the ground
• Ball changes characteristics as the game goes on, eg. "reverse" swing
• Pitch has cracks in it which causes the ball to deviate
• Pitch changes characteristics as the game goes on
• Pitch characteristics vary from oval to oval
• No such thing as a comfy strike zone - "he aimed the ball at me waaaah!"

Also, AFL > NFL. ;)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:57 AM on May 21, 2010


Relevant.
posted by doublehappy at 1:23 AM on May 21, 2010


Ball is harder

Actually, that doesn't make much of a difference. If the cricket ball weighed as much as a cannonball, perhaps, but not in the case of cricket vs baseball.

Ball has a big seam down the middle which causes it to deviate off the ground

A baseball has a big seam which causes it to deviate in mid-air, and in fact how you throw the ball greatly affects its aerodynamics, e.g. the two-seam fastball vs the four-seamer.

Ball changes characteristics as the game goes on, eg. "reverse" swing

Baseball used to have this until Ray Chapman.

Pitch has cracks in it which causes the ball to deviate

Temperature and humidity can affect pitching greatly, as can the mound. Though, honestly, the fact the cricket ball is coming off the ground creates a lot of unpredictability.

Pitch changes characteristics as the game goes on

As does a baseball field.

Pitch characteristics vary from oval to oval

And these don't change in baseball? Pitchers complain about mounds all the time. Groundskeepers play with grass height. Wall distances are wildly irregular. The ball carries differently in Wrigley Field in July than in April. Closing the roof at Safeco means more homer. Etc. etc. etc.

No such thing as a comfy strike zone - "he aimed the ball at me waaaah!"

Again, Ray Chapman.

This is what a batsman looks like.

This is what Barry Bonds looked like. And note that one of the biggest non-steroids complaint about Bonds was that "huge" elbow guard, which is smaller than the pad protecting the batsman's patella.

Of course there's a "comfy" strike zone -- you have a pretty good chance of seriously hurting a player.

Batting in baseball and batting in cricket are different things. In cricket, it's about defending the wicket, so there are a lot of ground strokes, and you don't even have to run if you make contact. In baseball, it's about putting the ball in play safely, and if you hit the ball, you better run.

I'm not sure cricket batsmen could make the transition myself. The ball is generally coming up and in cricket, where it's often going down and away in baseball. Sinkers, sliders, and splitters are what separate the good ones from the great ones.

OTOH, I'm not sure about baseball players, either. There aren't a lot of good defensive hitters, and the best defensive hitters are also taught to lay off bad pitches. Ichiro, though, I think could be a consistently good batsmen. He can hit the ball anywhere on the field.
posted by dw at 2:45 PM on May 21, 2010


Hey dw, just a couple of things.

Disagree with your deconstruction of the "ball is harder" point. If it's 5% harder then it makes it just than tiny bit scarier to face, protection not withstanding.

All your points about baseball moves thru the air just like a cricket ball moves off the pitch. I only briefly mentioned it, but a cricket ball swings too. So a batsman has two things to worry about when judging the trajectory of the ball. Three if you consider the still mysterious art of "reverse" swing bowling. I won’t go into that here.

A simple test would be: get a cricketer to face 100 pitches. Get a baseballer to face 100 deliveries. I know who's gonna look like the bigger goose.

And finally, are you from a baseball background?

If you have a faith, it is statistically overwhelmingly likely that it is the same faith as your parents and grandparents had. No doubt soaring cathedrals, stirring music, moving stories and parables, help a bit. But by far the most important variable determining your religion is the accident of birth. The convictions that you so passionately believe would have been a completely different, and largely contradictory, set of convictions, if only you had happened to be born in a different place. Epidemiology, not evidence.

But I suppose the same argument could be used against me. :P

I like baseball, BTW.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:36 PM on May 21, 2010


@fearfulsymmetry: I can think of an awful lot of people from the Indian subcontinent who would not be happy with the characterization of those who play cricket in North America. :)

I'll give you that... just remember talking to a guy once who imported cricket gear into the US and all his customers were West Indies ex-pats.

One thing baseball definitely has over cricket is I struggle to think of many cricket movies at all (Lagaan ... er may be some Oz/NZ cricket themed comedy horror thing?) but there's loads of baseball movies, some of them classics.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:31 PM on May 22, 2010


Yeah, cricket movies tend to be less about cricket and more about immigrants overcoming adversity.
posted by doublehappy at 3:59 PM on May 22, 2010


But nothing excuses Angels in the Outfield.
posted by doublehappy at 3:59 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


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