Things have really changed. When I first moved to Australia, I decided to watch cricket on TV – everyone else did. And isn’t it the Australian (and other country’s as well) version of baseball? I like baseball, so I figured I should check it out. My first reaction was, wow, now I know how people who don’t understand baseball feel like. There were numbers all over my TV screen, and none of them made any sense. So this is what an Aussie feels like watching a baseball broadcast!! Yes, they both involve bats and balls, but I had no idea what was going on.
Fast forward to today. The Cricket World Cup has been going on for the last 2 months or so – and yes, American readers, there is a Cricket World Cup! Just because we aren’t any good at a sport doesn’t mean others don’t compete at a global level. And you know what else? This World Cup actually involves the world, unlike the baseball World Series, which involves only the USA, and (very) occasionally Toronto when the Blue Jays are any good. Leave it to the Americans to call something “world XYZ” and then leave everyone else out, right world?
But I digress. Back to the Cricket World Cup. I steadfastly ignored it until the Aussies made it to the semi final. I then tuned in and watched Australia post a good win over India to make it to the final. I hate to admit it, but I rather enjoyed it. I tuned in after India had posted an innings total of 327 – in the 50 over ODI (one day international) format of the tournament, this was a run rate of just over 6.5, which I came to understand was pretty good. So Australia was “chasing” 328 in their innings to win. And it was exciting. They got there with a few overs to spare, and scored the winner on a “six”, the cricket version of a home run. On to the final!
Hmmm, not bad I thought. Wouldn’t want to watch the whole thing (an investment of about 8 hours under normal circumstances), but good to tune in and out.
Along came this past Sunday. The final started at 2:30 pm at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground – Australia’s most hallowed sporting ground). So I tuned in at 7:30 pm. The Kiwis (that is the team from New Zealand, Americans) had posted only 183, the Aussies had already scored 35, had oodles of overs to come, and the Kiwi’s had only 1 wicket in hand. Eventually the Aussies won on a “four” (sort of a baseball double to the gap) with many overs left and only 3 Kiwi wickets. A blowout of epic proportion. Kind of like the baseball game where Jose Canseco or the like comes in to pitch because no one wants to waste a real pitcher. Congrats to the Aussies!!!
In the end, I watched parts of 2 cricket matches. One was exciting, one not so much. The whole experience got me thinking – which is more boring, baseball or cricket?
They are very similar games. Baseball’s most exciting play is the home run. Cricket’s is the capturing of a wicket (at least that is my observation based on the reaction of players and fans when it happens). In between, baseball is a constant procession of a pitcher and catcher throwing the ball back and forth with the occasional hit or at least a play in the field. Cricket is a bowler walking back to his spot, running up and bowling, a batsmen making contact, and then switching spots with the other batsmen (or not, depending on where the ball goes). So what I realized in the end is that they are equally boring, and best enjoyed as a background soundtrack while having a beer with your mates on a sunny day!