Monday, August 19, 2019

No baseball fan can tell me cricket is dull

I have a superpower. In my mind anyway. It's not like Hollywood is going to make a movie about it or anything. But if they do then they owe me big time.

It's the ability to sit down, drink beer and watch sports at virtually any time of day or night. I've set numerous alarms for stupid o'clock in the morning if there's a particular event I want to catch and I've even been known to have a few beers before breakfast whilst watching if I've got nothing responsible to do for the rest of the day. I was in Vegas once when my football (soccer with the round ball) team were playing an important game against their local rivals which necessitated a 4am on Saturday alarm call and about 6 beers whilst I screamed the place down cheering them on.

My superpower comes in handy as I travel a lot - I'm often on my own in cities for days or weeks on end and once I've done a couple of sightseeing things I get pretty bored. I'm actually a pretty bad tourist - but not as bad as the family who asked me take their picture outside McDonalds on the Las Vegas strip who were over the moon that they'd found their favourite restaurant. But anyway - I digress.

It's a warm but wet weekend afternoon and I'm sat in a bar enjoying a couple of beers and watching the sport - which happens to be baseball. Whilst I don't follow any particular team and wouldn't know who was good or bad at any time I quite enjoy the game. I probably don't get every intricacy but I understand the infield fly rule and can confidently explain how the pitching team can make a triple play without anyone other than the pitcher on the fielding team actually touching the ball.

A gent sits next to me and asks me about the game. I tell him it's scoreless in the 6th or 7th and the game is pretty dire as there have only been a couple of hits. He responds "ah - you're British". Well at least he hasn't thought I'm Australian so that's a good start. 

"You probably watch cricket rather than baseball - I couldn't watch that as it's so dull" he continues. His tone is jovial and I take an immediate liking to him when he offers to buy me a beer. We begin chatting about various sports and he's keen to know how US sports are perceived around the world - we get most major league US sports on UK TV but baseball is still a pretty fringe option. I'd say the UK interest would probably be ranked NFL, NBA, NHL then MLB with MLS gaining ground rapidly. 

After a while (and a few more beers) I ask him about his dislike for cricket - is it the fact you can play for 5 days and still end up with a drawn game? Yes - this is a real scenario for any non cricket fans out there but I've seen utterly thrilling games end like this, sometimes a team can be up against the wall and a draw effectively seems like a good result whereas any American would be aghast at this

He tells me there's not enough action. I almost spit my beer at this outrage. "So what's the point of baseball?" I ask. "Those fans have sat for over 3 hours and seen 2 runs and about 4 or 5 hits. Where's the action there?" He says that's true but that's probably not a typical game. I tell him about a recent cricket match that I'd watched (a one day rather than 5 day game though) that went from 11am to 7pm where over 750 runs were scored in a day and finish up with "I like baseball but no baseball fan can ever tell me cricket is dull". I tell him that it's a legitimate tactic for the bowler to aim at the batsman's body and head at speeds around 90mph - an Australian cricketer was tragically killed a couple of years ago when he was hit on the head during a game. 

I probably haven't changed his mind though and we go our separate ways after a very enjoyable afternoon spent chatting and drinking - now if only my superpowers included remembering which hotel I'm staying in today. 


  1. Baseball catches a lot of heat because of the state of the game today. Too many delays. Too many strikeouts and not enough contact from batters. The athleticism of the fielders is outstanding ... if you can stay up through an entire game. It is slow paced, like going fishing at the local pound. It used to be acknowledged as the national pastime. In truth, it has been eclipsed by football.

    1. I think the pace of the game is what puts Europeans off - games regularly taking 4 hours is not overly attractive unless we get the run fest that Boston and New York showed in the London series this year

  2. "MLS gaining ground rapidly" ... MLS is always becoming more popular in the USA and elsewhere, but it never gets there! :) Who is your EPL team or club European team?

    1. I think this time might be different for MLS - there’s a huge influx of money plus the league is actually getting some marquee players rather than those right at the end of their careers.

      The attendances look on the up as well - Atlanta and Seattle in particular get big crowds even by European standards.

      My team is Norwich City - we’re in the Premier League but we’ve been relegated and promoted over the last 10 or so years.

    2. I do hope you are right about MLS. Orlando has a good following and DC United with the new stadium are also locally popular.

      Ah cool, I mostly follow the Serbs as they come and go in the PL. I had a rather embarrassing talk with a friend recently. I said, "How cool is it that Sheffield got promoted, aren't you a Sheffield United fan?" And he looked at me with disgust and said, "I'm a Sheffield Wednesday fan!"