No, I’m serious. It’s definitely not lamer than baseball. No, it’s not. I don’t think baseball is lame. But if you also do not think that baseball is lame, you can’t think that cricket is lame.
First off, it has a lot more variation than baseball. As in, when the ball is played, it can go 360 degrees, not this paltry American 90. Also, the ball bounces before it reaches the batsman. It’s still going anywhere from 55 to 90 miles an hour. Gosh.
Also, the wicket makes a hell of a lot more sense than the strike zone, sorry. I know that in theory the strike zone is well-defined, but I’ve seen too many people go into a towering rage over strikes and balls that that doesn’t really hold much water. (The leg-before-wicket rule is analogous, but, again, there is actually a target; in addition, it comes into question much less often.)
I hear he sang "Blue Suede Shoes" when they won the Ashes. Instead of "Jerusalem."
Another thing is that you have more than one bowler per match. And by this I mean more than one bowler on the pitch at the same time, not that the first one gets relieved by an ever-increasing string of lesser bowlers. This means that you can’t write off the bowlers’ batting, as you can with a pitcher.
This gives rise to the “all-rounder,” or a gentleman who can both bowl and bat. To the left is Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, recently come off an ankle injury and largely credited with England’s dominant performances in the One Day Internationals against South Africa. I hear he’s good-looking. I don’t see it myself, but I present him for your delectation anyway.
Now, I realize that baseball also has players who are good in attack (batting) and defense (fielding). Your shortstops, your second basemen. It’s true. But Cole Hamels is wildly exceptional for being a pitcher and hitting .243. He was pulled off the bench to pinch-hit once. (This blew my mind and didn’t actually work, but it did happen. Also, you can make the argument that he’s hitting for better average than most of the Phillies. True. In 70 at-bats.)
Mr. Flintoff, by contrast, is counted on for at least two wickets and at least 60 runs every match. This is, as you can see, a qualitatively different attitude. I’m not saying that there are not bowlers of whose batting we have despaired. Monty Panesar comes to mind. I merely point out that you can’t have five of them at a time.
See? They're actually athletes.
Cricket’s not boring. There’s speed in the bowling. And bounce! How can that be boring?
Fielding can be spectacular. You think a shortstop is close to the batter? Try the slips, which are, say, three to five yards from the batsman. Cricket fielders lay out to stop boundaries, and they leap to make catches. Just because they wear white does not mean they’re not playing a sport.
Plus, English cricketers, though they may be skinny and pale, can be pretty darn cute. Current favorite is Stuart Broad (to the right), who, if you can get past his disturbing resemblance to Draco Malfoy, is totally dreamy. Add to that his excellent bowling and his surprisingly good batting, and you’ve got quite the complete package. He is from Nottinghamshire and probably has an utterly dreadful accent, but I suppose you can’t have everything.
Seriously. Cricket. Check it out.
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