Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baseball v. Cricket.

The Indian Premier League looks set to change the cricket world and cricket purists are (justifiably) appalled. Stephen Moss' comment on the Guardians' website that the IPL is "Just not Cricket", is a good example.

Moss, as a typical cricket fan, cannot write a comment on his game without taking a dig at baseball: "The truth about Twenty20 is that it is baseball under another banner." Cricket fans love bashing baseball, and many seem to genuinely believe that their sport is objectively superior to baseball.

I like booth sports, but prefer baseball. This preference undoubtedly derives from the fact that I grew up playing and watching baseball and only learned to appreciate cricket as an adult. I feel compelled, however, by what I perceived to be the arrogance of cricket fans, to write this list of reasons why I think baseball is better than cricket. This list is of course completely subjective and many of the reasons why I prefer baseball could also constitute reasons to prefer cricket.

1) Batting is harder in Baseball!

I don't mean that batting in cricket is inferior to baseball, as batting in cricket is much more of an art form than in baseball. The cricket batsman needs to learn a wide variety of shots and defensive plays to succeed, and unlike baseball there is the added difficulty of hitting the ball after it has bounced of the ground. However, the fact of the matter is that cricket is a game dominated by batting, while baseball is dominated by pitching. There's a reason a test match last five days, and even then often ends in a draw. Five days is often not enough to get the required 40 outs. In baseball the minimum requirement of outs is 51 and games typically lasts 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The advantages a cricket batsman has, as compared to one in baseball, includes a smaller 'strike-zone', larger bats, longer distance from the bowler/pitcher, slower speed of the ball and, most importantly, the right not to leave the crease after hitting the ball. Preferring the dominance of either batting or pitching/bowling is of course a matter of taste. I simply prefer watching a good baseball pitcher than yet another cricket batsman scoring hundreds of runs.

2) The ball-strike count.

Each pitch of an at-bat in baseball changes the contest between pitcher and batter, and advances the game to its conclusion. A 3-1 pitch is a completely different proposition than an 0-2 pitch, and while 2-strike foul balls do not progress the at-bat, they are nevertheless significant. Each at-bat thus progresses to its conclusion as either a walk, strikeout or ball in play. A cricket innings does of course change as the innings progresses, but with the exception of wides and no-balls, each ball does not 'count' unless a run or out is recorded.

3) Base running.

Running in cricket simply consists of running back and forth. In baseball the skill of running the bases, the excitement when a batter stretches a single into a double, steals a base or hits a triple, or when a runner scores from first on a double, is an added dimension compared to cricket.

4) Fielding.

While cricket players do occasionally make some very spectacular catches, cricket doesn't place the same onus on fielding as baseball does. Cricket players seldom display the skills off baseball infielders getting the force-out at first, turning double plays, catching a runner trying to steal, or that of outfielders making a running catch or throwing out a runner at home.

5) Unlike cricket, baseball is not undergoing radical changes.

Real cricket is in crisis. While test matches are still popular in England, Australia and South Africa, the majority of the cricket world is now hooked on the limited overs game. County cricket is played in empty stadiums and the future of game is found in the 'one- day' and 'twenty20' formats. These forms of the game are, as Moss says, just not cricket. Twenty20 has few of the elements that make baseball great, while leaving out the best parts of test cricket. In comparison, baseball has changed very little since the end of the 'dead ball' era in 1920. The lowering of the pitching mound in 1969 and introduction of the Designated Hitter in 1973, has changed baseball to the worse. Compared to cricket, however, baseball is remains true to its basic format.

27 Comments:

At 07 May, 2008 14:12, Blogger Ernest said...

Thought I would ignite this old debate. Will not resort to purile
name
calling or boorish trash talking.. will make the point in numbered
point form. Cricket is superior and here is why.

(PROVISIO: this is NOT intended as an attack on the United States..
just an attempt to illustrate the superiority of a game that derives
from the same source as Baseball and with the same goal in mind; more
runs than the opposition in an agreed time/game frame.)


1. The ball bounces off the ground before it reaches the batsman
(batter). This small fact increases the variables exponentially
compared to a ball in flight that does not bounce. A bouncing ball
can
change direction, speed, height, pitch and angle. A non-bouncing ball
can only change direction (and at 100mph that is a serious problem
with a round bat granted- but nothing like a hard spun leg-spinner
that drifts in and then pitches and spins..eg..)


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=qfE-2mf6_50


2. As the batsmans' main job is to defend his wicket (those 3 sticks)
he places his body BEHIND the line of flight of the ball and
therefore
into harms way.. eg


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=w-f5pfBgpNE


3. The game is played on a natural surface that deteriorates over the
5 days of a test match.. so not only does the batsman have to contend
with points 1&2 above, there is an added randomness in that the ball
can land on the same spot twice in a row and do two completely
different things.. all at 90mph and trying to protect your stumps
(those three sticks) and your own body at the same time.


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=0cMGWRLoqAg


4. No gloves on the fielders. A catch without a mit is considered a
miracle in baseball


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=71o_ONrI_pk


But is just a normal day in the office for a cricketer..


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=G0AlU_5mxIA


So that's it- comments?

 
At 08 May, 2008 13:51, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Ernest, thanks for the comment and links, I enjoyed your explanation and illustrations. You're right that the cricket v. baseball debate is usually marred by stupid comments and generalizations, and one reason I wrote this blog was my frustration of being a baseball fan living in England.

As to your points. I concede that the ground adds variation and that batting in cricket requires more all round skills. However, the fact of the matter is that cricket batsman can bat for hours scoring hundreds of runs, whereas a baseball at-bat seldom lasts more than 10 pitches. So cricket batsmen have some major advantages over baseball batters. Cricketers should therefore, in my opinion, be less dismissive of the skills of baseball players.

Also, pitchers have the advantage over bowlers of being allowed to throw the ball. This gives them more control over the ball and means that the average speed of pitches, at major league level, is faster than average speed of first class cricket bowling.

I find that each game has complexities and variations that the other game lacks (cricket, for example. has no stolen bases, no double plays and no sacrifice or squeeze plays). Whether you prefer one to the other is, in my opinion, a matter of taste.

p.s. Cricket has one element that I really respect, but which puts me of the sport: the length. A five day test simply requires more mental stamina than I possess.

 
At 08 May, 2008 23:05, Blogger Ernest said...

Agreed on the concentration issue.. and when it comes to batting remember that in the 5 day format a batsman can literally survive for only 2 balls if he gets two ducks (0 scored)..

So with no 3 chances every ball is a potential out, so the level of circumspection is incredibly higher.

I think at the end of the day baseball is a game of throwing and catching- the batter only facilitates the catching and throwing and all the complexity lies in that (which as a cricket player/follower seems a little shallow to me) whereas in cricket which is primarily a bat & ball game the complexity lies in batting and bowling which in all honesty appears to be a richer, more complex, more skill orientated game.

But that is just my opinion. Good to see the debate without all the jingoistic nonsense attached.

 
At 13 May, 2008 11:40, Blogger Ernest said...

Hey matey response??

 
At 13 May, 2008 15:37, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Sorry, I've had to do some thinking before I could respond to your last comment ;-).

While there is more emphasis on throwing and catching in baseball, it is still primarily a contest between batter and pitcher. Is it, however, less complex? I don't think so.

Maybe its because I don't really understand cricket, I don't know, but except for the bounce, bowling seems less complicated than pitching. For example:
- The run-up clearly gives away whether the bowler is delivering spin or fast bowling. In baseball a pitcher giving away that he is throwing a curve-ball instead of a fastball, by lowering his by arm by 10º for example, will be severely punished.
- While the bounce in cricket does create much uncertainty, I've never seen a bowler deliver as unpredictable a ball as a knuckleball pitcher.
- Bowlers don't have the equivalent to a change-up (a slow off-speed pitch). The change-up is perhaps the most effective pitch because batter have great difficulty in adjusting the swing to slower pitch.

On a completely different point. Cricket is in my opinion, in danger of losing its soul. The one-day game is bad enough, but the Twenty20 is ruining the game. Its not because the format is shorter that I dislike the limit-overs game, its that the objective is changed from getting the batters out, to merely limiting the scoring. What's your take on Twenty20

 
At 13 May, 2008 15:42, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

p.s. for another (negative) take on the Indian Premier league, see this comment by Eli Eteraz posted on The Guardians comment section yesterday:
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ali_eteraz/2008/05/cricket_robbery.html

 
At 14 May, 2008 03:12, Blogger Ernest said...

While there is more emphasis on throwing and catching in baseball, it is still primarily a contest between batter and pitcher. Is it, however, less complex? I don't think so.

I think that common sense will tell you that picking which base to throw at doesn't compare with the complexities of facing a 90mph on a worn test wicket. 3 balls can land on exactly the same place on the pitch and all do different things.

Maybe its because I don't really understand cricket, I don't know, but except for the bounce, bowling seems less complicated than pitching. For example:
- The run-up clearly gives away whether the bowler is delivering spin or fast bowling. In baseball a pitcher giving away that he is throwing a curve-ball instead of a fastball, by lowering his by arm by 10º for example, will be severely punished.

true enough.. but every type of bowler has numerous variations.. for instance a leg spinner can bowl a "wrongun" http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=MWQNlnrl1-Q which by disguising the ball coming out of the very back of the hand a leg spinner becomes an off spinner just by a slight adjustment of the wrist that looks like the same type of delivery to the batsman.. likewise there is a top spinner like in tennis that bounces more, a "flipper" that skids low off the wicket, and a "back spinner" bowled by a few that slows down after pitching. And that is only one type of bowler.

- While the bounce in cricket does create much uncertainty, I've never seen a bowler deliver as unpredictable a ball as a knuckleball pitcher.

Ever seen swing bowling? We are allowed to spit ball so one side is roughed up and the other side shined using saliva and polishing to produce a swing effect.. after a while the ball starts to reverse swing.. where the weight of all that saliva starts to drag he ball in flight the wrong way to the way it was delivered.. check these out..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=Y06-0nfE0CU

And reverse swing..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=JI-kSnfY2QA

- Bowlers don't have the equivalent to a change-up (a slow off-speed pitch). The change-up is perhaps the most effective pitch because batter have great difficulty in adjusting the swing to slower pitch.

Nope.. incorrect.. look at this

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj6rQ4VNCdM

On a completely different point. Cricket is in my opinion, in danger of losing its soul. The one-day game is bad enough, but the Twenty20 is ruining the game. Its not because the format is shorter that I dislike the limit-overs game, its that the objective is changed from getting the batters out, to merely limiting the scoring. What's your take on Twenty20

I think Cricket is slowly being eroded.. "dumbed down" some might say so it appeals to new markets esp in the USA.. people might complain about the 5 day game but it is only in the long format do things like ball & pitch erosion and just plain mental fatigue set in and show the true characters of international sides.. Test cricket as been around for 130 years.. I don't think it's going anywhere soon.. anyway check those clips out and tell me what you think.

 
At 14 May, 2008 03:35, Blogger Ernest said...

Furthermore and really to the point baseball seems a little soft to me because there is realy physical courage (some say mental illness) required when facing a geniune fast bowler.. there IS a reason why there is all the protective equipment.. check this one out.. and remember.. if you get hit.. it's your fault as the batsmen.. you can't calmly walk to first base with an indignant expression on your face..

you're lucky sometimes if you can even walk at all..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=i-NNkbFS6FE

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=CZBjhTd4Z9M

 
At 16 May, 2008 08:23, Blogger Ernest said...

Do I merit another response??

 
At 16 May, 2008 11:51, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Yes, you're comment does merit a response and I've been trying to write one all day yesterday. The problem is that I have a deadline for a research paper coming up and I'm little stressed. Also you're arguing your case very well, and I might just be too stubborn to admit that you may be right!

I accept that cricket has as varied a selection of deliveries as baseball, and that I was wrong about the change-up. I also accept that bating in cricket requires real courage and have been hit enough times when I played the game to appreciate the courage of first-class players.

My main point, on which I still stand fast, was that pitchers rely heavily on ball speed (slow an fast), air friction and spin, whereas bowlers can vary line and length of the delivery and utilize the unpredictability of the bounce. Varying the line and length, manipulating the ball and the deterioration of the pitch, should not, however, be equated with complexity. Bowlers are, after all, spectacularly inept at getting batsmen out!

Yesterday's baseball game between the Mets and Nationals, which i took time of to watch, illustrates why I feel baseball has as much complexity as cricket. A pitchers dual, the Mets' pitcher, Mike Pelfry, took a no-hitter into the 7th inning. The Nationals only run was produced by a double, followed by a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the ninth with the Mets trailing 1-0, Carlos Beltran hit a single, stole second base and reached third when the Nationals catcher threw wildly to second base. So the Mets had the trying run on third base with one out, a long flyball out should therefore have been enough to score Beltran. Instead Carlos Delgado hit a line drive which was caught by the first baseman, who then threw to third base to complete the double play, and the game was over. As a Mets fan I was disappointed, by the drama and complexity of the game was beautiful.

Anyway, even if I were to concede that cricket is more complex than baseball, my joy in watching and playing baseball is still much greater.

p.s.. as I've enjoyed the you-tube links you've posted, I though you might enjoy this link, with Steve Hamilton's legendary (and ridiculously slow) eepheus pitch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFvp7kMraAw
and this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGHvD2kZwgY&NR=1

 
At 17 May, 2008 07:27, Blogger Ernest said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFvp7kMraAw

- Looks like an easy full toss to me.. but I'd say that most good cricket shots would just be weak grounders in baseball and easy outs so a floater pitched accurately would have to be very hard to hit with a round bat.

The "gyro-ball" is interesting as it mimics a good spin bowlers "drift".. even the grip is similar..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=lFvNWDKAxAs

http://www.rlca.com.pk/images/goog.gif

There is lot's of similarities but as I've said before the fact that the ball actually pitches into the turf before reaching the batsman (usually).. you get the occasional beamer..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=UhwkCj6mIBA&feature=related

but because of the ball hitting the pitch the complexities of the game in relation to strategy and skill are greater. The ball wears, the pitch wears, both of which add to the complexity of the game.

Furthermore- with no gloves the way that you take the ball is far more complex especially with the ball coming at speed.. you have to give with your hands and being in the slips is probably the hardest job in international sport for sheer reaction time and complexity at speed..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=EJQdbzCQOks&feature=related

I can't say that I've watched enough baseball to work out the same complexity that you've watched.. it bores me frankly long minutes of nothing happening punctuated with a bit of throwing the ball between bases and some (to a cricket players eyes at least) nefarious attempts to steal bases.

People say that nothing happens in cricket but every ball has to be negotiated by a batsman.. defence is the first instinct attack second and self preservation third.. just watching a properly played forward or back foot defence is an example of complex technique and courage in itself..
comparable to a martial art practiced over years and perfected.

When you say that bowlers aren't good at getting batters out you are really only talking about decent level cricket.. in ordinary cricket wickets come often from mistakes and poor quality pitches.. ordinary folk who can't practice for hours a day from the age of 3 can't master perfect defence and stay at the wicket for hours.. Just like someone without time on their hands can't consistently pitch at the strike zone at speed. Both take practice.

But for "complexity" using the classical English definition incorporating "intricacy" I'd put my money on cricket. The weather, the different types of pitches in different parts of the world, the different balls used and the wear on such all add to the very intricate technique of playing these same balls off the face of an English Willow bat in front of 3 ash posts plugged into the ground.

In baseball, the ball is thrown not bowled.. which is a far more natural way of delivering the ball to the batsman, who again hits the ball with a far more natural swing than the pendulum swing of a cricket bat.

Therefore by it's very nature the very unnatural body movements required in cricket are complex in the extreme and require constant tinkering to be effective on the cricket field.

Baseball seems like a game of texas hold-em poker.. you hope for the ball in the zone that you like to hit like hoping for good cards on the flop.

In cricket you have to watch each ball out of the bowlers hand onto your bat.. you have to wait as long you dare out of the 0.5 seconds you have from the time the ball leaves the bowlers hand to make the decision to either play forward or back.. cross bat or straight bat.. wider back-lift or shorter and straigter to play a defensive shot.. and you have ONE chance only. So no pre-meditation.. just watching the ball all the way onto the bat.

SO with all that in mind will you concede that given the 600 years of evolution present in the game of cricket and it's reliance on a natural surface of grass & dirt, no gloves, unnatural body movement, spitballs, physical (wooden) strike zone, one chance per batsman, and the ball bouncing that cricket is a more complex and intricate game than baseball? In rules, in skill, and in effect?

If you love baseball I've no problem with that.. and love to see people passionate about anything..

But I'd say that people who love hamburger can't argue that it is more complex than Beef Wellington with truffle & sage gravy. That is my whole point. I'll take back the cricket is superior comment because I suppose it's a matter of taste. Like the difference between modern tennis & real tennis..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=eq9UdZ00TXg&feature=related

Or the oft quoted "baseball is checkers and cricket is chess"..

 
At 17 May, 2008 16:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"2) The ball-strike count.

Each pitch of an at-bat in baseball changes the contest between pitcher and batter, and advances the game to its conclusion. A 3-1 pitch is a completely different proposition than an 0-2 pitch, and while 2-strike foul balls do not progress the at-bat, they are nevertheless significant. Each at-bat thus progresses to its conclusion as either a walk, strikeout or ball in play. A cricket innings does of course change as the innings progresses, but with the exception of wides and no-balls, each ball does not 'count' unless a run or out is recorded."


There is more riding on each play/pitch/ball and therefore more pressure on each play in baseball than cricket.
Cricket is essentially a game of accumulation over long periods of time.
Because of this, potential runs resulting from a single pitch/play in baseball have a much bigger impact on a game than cricket's equivalent of a single wicket in a test match, in general.

Following through what you say Torsten about the ball-strike count - each pitch essentially counts for or against the pitcher/batter. There is no way out. More tension and pressure.

In cricket, there is a way out. The batsman has the other option of defending the ball with no thought of scoring if he's good enough. On the other hand, if a bowler is being smashed about he can negatively put the ball down the leg side or wide of off stump and not be penalised. In cricket you can go for the "neutral" option.

 
At 18 May, 2008 10:01, Blogger Ernest said...

A bit of a ridiculous comment really given every game I've watched of baseball has countless balls directed wide of the strike zone pass harmlessly into the catchers mit..

With an actual physical strike zone made of wood in existence the bowlers tries to force the batsman into playing at balls he should really leave alone like they do in baseball.. however he is always mindful of the fact that any minor misjudgement on his part could mean his wicket and I disagree that one wicket cannot affect an entire test match.

Anyway the real point of the blog was that baseball matches cricket in relation to complexity and there are many other points you could address should you feel to.. like the ball actually hitting the pitch before reaching the batsman.. the fact that you can legally physically intimidate the batsman by directing the ball at pace at his body, and the various deliveries in cricket that I have demonstrated that in the very least match the complexity of pitching..

Care to elaborate your argument on those points???

 
At 21 May, 2008 18:26, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Ernest and Anonymous, I would like to respond to your comments, but it'll have to wait until I've finished my paper on the International Criminal Court... sorry..

 
At 04 June, 2008 14:38, Blogger Ernest said...

Surely you would have finished your paper by now..

Here is another example why cricket is a more complex and harder game.. the following is a perfectly legal way of trying to get the batsman out (without a tobacco spitting punch up ensuing)..

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=4OxnYBV7vfw&feature=related

By the way he lost his two front teeth- even with a titanium grill on his helmet.

A perfectly LEGAL delivery. No foul, no ball, no walk- just a dentists bill..

 
At 05 June, 2008 16:50, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Yes, I'm finished with my paper, but I'm very tired. This last academic year, my 9th in higher education (hey, I'm a slow learner), took a lot out of me.

Ernest, I've read all of your comments with interest, and you make some good points. However, I still can't see that cricket is more complex/intigrate than baseball.

Intricacy means for me having many different elements that relate together in a complex manner. Both games are integrate a wide variety of different elements and skills.

Batting in cricket requires great skill and has arguable more elements. A cricket batsman must master a variety of shots and have good legwork, whereas a baseball batter relies on eye-hand coordination and instinct. Baseball batting is a difficult skill, but admittedly less complex.

Bowling, while being a very unnatural movement (though not as damaging on the arm as throwing), doesn't in my opinion have more elements or variation except for the bounce. Baseball pitchers has as great a variety of deliveries (whether its two- seam or four-seam fastballs, splitters, forkballs, curveballs, sliders, screwballs, knuckleballs, gryoballs etc) as bowlers. Exploiting the unpredictableness of a ball bouncing on the ground isn't in my opinion complexity.

Fielding in cricket is hard, as only the wicket-keeper has gloves, but lacks many elements that exists in baseball (such as turning double-plays, executing a pitch-out, throwing a runner out at home plate etc.). Fielding strategy in cricket has more elements as field placement can vary more, but that doesn't mean that fielding strategy is less important in baseball.

Finally, running in baseball has more elements than in cricket, which often consist of jogging back and forth between the creases. The stolen base, squeeze plays, stretching a single into a double, etc. are the most exiting parts of baseball and are nonexistent in cricket.

I also agree with "anonymous" concerning the "neutral option". In baseball a pitcher can, and do, pitch outside the strike zone on purpose, and a batter will often refrain from swinging at a strike, but these choices count against the batter/pitcher. The neutral option in cricket adds to what I perceive to be the constant repetitiveness of cricket.

Chess is clearly more complex than checkers, because the variations of moves and strategies is much greater. I cannot see that baseball in a similar way has less variation and cricket more elements. Cricket is a great game and I like watching and playing it, but I cannot concede it being more complex in rules, skills and effect.

So I may very well be a simpleton who cannot distinguish between hamburgers to beef wellington...

 
At 06 June, 2008 06:39, Blogger Ernest said...

Bowling in cricket is actually the more complex of the two disciplines because of the variety of deliveries, the use of the crease (ie the different angles the ball can be delivered from) the pace the ball is delivered at, the use of swing, the use of spin (which doesn't feature in baseball at all because the ball doesnt bounce) the different lengths that can be bowled at, the use of the cracks and the different surfaces that appear because of the weather, the different ways you have to bowl with batsman that have different styles (ie back or front foot) and the sheer deception of trying to dismiss a batsman with a flat broad bat..

I just think that you don't know enough about cricket to make these statements- I'd advise that you play a full season and try and bowl in the nets- ie actually play the game before you determine whether or not it is as complex as cricket.

Because were we to make a legal case out of it (even a civil case using the onus of proof on the balance of probabilities) then it would be easy to show legally that due to the unpredictablity of bouncing a ball on a naturally wearing surface (whether a batsman or a bowler) the complexity is exponentially higher.. that also goes for the fielders who don't use gloves..

And I'm sorry but deciding which base to run to/throw to in a passage of play does not equal complexity to me.. it's child's play compared to stepping inside a ball travelling 90mph knowing that you have two men on the fence behind sqaure on the leg side and placing it between them. All in 0.5 of a second.

The footwork is more complex, the danger element MUCH higher (even with the protective gear as I've shown) the bowlers have to be fitter and more agile, and everyone has to be thinking all the time.

Baseball is one dimensional and shallow in comparison.

So Torsten here is my challenge to you- you are in the UK so there are heaps of cricket clubs around.. visit one and step in the nets and actually try and bat- then times the skill factor by 10 when you are talking test cricket and imagine the skill level and complexity involved.

Historically it can also be shown that baseball was just cricket slowly dumbed down.. Abner Doublday was pure myth.

 
At 09 June, 2008 14:04, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Ernest, I'll let you have the last arguments in this discussion. I am honoured that you've taken time to argue and explain some of cricket's finer points.

I've watched cricket since first moving to the UK in 1993, and in the 90's I played (without much distinction) a couple of seasons for a club in league in Berkshire. My observations, experience and your arguments have not convinced me that cricket is more complex in skill or strategy than baseball. Batting and pitching is more complex than you make out and cricket lacks certain dimensions that baseball has. I do accept, however, that my knowledge of cricket may still be too limited to properly assess the game.

Also, even if you're correct that a legal case for cricket's superior complexity could easily be made, I do not find complexity in itself a virtue.

 
At 09 June, 2008 16:03, Blogger Ernest said...

No problem Torsten I thank you for responding so succinctly and graciously as well..

I suppose there will always be an element of bias on each side (which comes from a very sensitive place given how passionate we are about our chosen sports).. but I do find the majority of arguments against cricket from baseball stem solely from ignorance of the game rather than from an informed point of view.

I'd say as an Australian we are unique in that we do play the sport avidly here in schools- it is used mainly out of school as a way to keep certain skills honed in the off cricket season.. yet we did manage a Silver Medal last Olympics..

And having played both sports extensively (maybe not at MLB level or at Test Cricket level but played competative nonetheless).. I can say that again the fact that the ball doesn't bounce in baseball negates all arguments on complexity and skill. And the physical intimidation one feels when they are facing a geniune fast bowler is just not present in baseball. And I didn't mention the glove debate.

My last thought is this- read the following article which appears to me to be a definitve comparison..

http://www.mikemarqusee.com/index.php?p=170

But you are right in one thing- if you grew up with it you will love it over it's cousin.. it's just that if you grew up with American butter you would be used to it but you would be surprised at how much higher the quality Australian butter is- if you ever tasted it..

That has always been my point. Ignorance may be bliss but where cricket & baseball are concerned Australians aren't the ignorant ones regarding baseball- the same isn't always true the other way around.

One last thing- people that are ignorant of cricket tend to regard it is some "quaint" sport that has little or no international relevance.. well China has made it it's official school sport- so see 20 years down the track the world's two most populous countries will be playing each other.. it will make every other sport in the world (with the exception of football) look like small regional past-times.

 
At 02 November, 2009 06:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my experience I have found that baseball bashers from many a Commonwealth country also tend to be quite ignorant about the sport of baseball.

There are some key factors that cricket defenders seem to completely ignore:

1) Baseball pitchers consistently throw faster than cricket bowlers

2) A pitcher delivers from much closer than a bowler

3) The surface area of a cricket bat is far greater than a baseball bat, and the flat cricket bat further skews the advantage in favor of the cricket batsmen

5) The cricket pitch configuration greatly skews the contest in favor of a batsman because he can hit anywhere within 360 degrees. In baseball you have boundaries segmenting the field allowing a batsman to only direct the baseball within a 90 degree boundary.

4) So long as ANY contact is made by a cricket batsman, whether it be poor or solid contact, it is most certainly rewarded FAR MORE in cricket than in baseball. In baseball, a player who cannot consistently make solid contact cannot succeed - PERIOD. You can have poor batsmen who can only foul off pitches but never make solid contact in baseball who, if they did the same thing in cricket, may never be put out - particularly if they only need to take half swings, just make contact, and put the ball anywhere they can.

In baseball a batsmen does not just simply have to make a minimum contact - HE MUST HIT THE BALL HARD, WITH AUTHORITY AND DIRECTED ACCURATELY, AND DONE WITH CONSISTENCY AGAINST AN OPPONENT THAT THROWS HARDER, IS CLOSER, AND IS REWARDED BY GETTING THE BATSMEN TO ONLY FOUL TIP THE BALL.

I can appreciate the complexities of cricket. But you get tired of hearing all the arrogant, ignorant snobs who have never tried to even hit a baseball.

 
At 07 November, 2009 04:51, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. One thing I disagree with though. I don't think the designated hitter changed baseball for the worst. I think having the rule for just the American League and not the National League makes interleague play a little more interesting. That's just my personal opinion, and I know there's people out there who may disagree.

 
At 10 November, 2009 05:44, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Hi Annoymous,

Good comment on the difference between baseball and cricket hitting. I agree with most of your points. As this is an old blogpost you've commented on, I've posted you comment as new post on my blog.

You point of the DH is well taken. I also like that there is a difference between the two leagues. But this could be done with a less intrusive measure than the DH. My dislike of the DH is twofold. First, it increases hitting and scoring, and secondly, I actually enjoy watching the pitchers struggle at the plate, and enjoy the rare occasions they get a hit.

 
At 25 September, 2010 17:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know im a little late with this one but i thought i might weigh in, see if any one is listening. the way i see it is that cricket has much greater variation over baseball. firstly in fielding, i think the placement according to bowling and batting style the environment and match progression does overweigh the stratergy needed to play bases. also in bowling the bounce and combination of ball and pitch condition are huge. and in batting, well they have to counter the greater variety of bowling without ever making a mistake as opposed to baseball where they get 3 chances.
however this does not make cricket better, with a narrower choice of play you must have a much higher level of skill, also baseball forces thepoint you are always moving towards the conclusion, which no matter how much some protest is not the case in cricket, unles you count 20t.
obviously this is a subjective arguement so lets not pretend we can change anyones mind through discussion.
personally i prefer cricket if only because vb doesnt think baseball deserves its cash.

 
At 27 March, 2011 19:11, Blogger Rob said...

Ernest has made arguments that are hard to refute - except the challenge to Torsted to go and actually play the game. It's obvious Ernest hasn’t played baseball. Absent form both sides of the debate was the point that baseball action takes place in a few seconds, and split-second decision making doesn’t derive its complexity from the apparently lack of throwing options, but from the timing and possible combinations that appear spontaneously depending upon how the bases are loaded. A double play looks easy, but it requires skill split-second correct decision making and skill under pressure, and a triple play is a truly amazing thing. I don’t think cricket has peak incidents like that

The other points missed in the argument IMO are the degradation of the games as the level is lowered, the facilities available to youngsters, and the experience of being at a game.

While an enjoyable game to watch requires to teams of approximately the same skill level, lack of skill makes an inept cricket game truly awful to watch, while an inept baseball game is usually just higher scoring (albeit with plenty of cringeworthy incidents) with lots of walked runs.

Every small town in the USA (and Canada) has a baseball diamond tucked away in the corner of a park, where it isn't out of place due to the nature of the game, while the rest of the park is not unduly affected. Cricket required a high-maintenance, do-not-trespass area in the middle of some open ground, and prevents the park form multi-use in many cases. And yes, I know all the school yard variants of the game.

 
At 27 March, 2011 19:14, Blogger Rob said...

Although a cricket lover myself, the baseball game action takes place close to where I can sit, and hence more enjoyable, whereas the action in a cricket game is usually a good 80 yards away. Both however are ideally suited to multi-tasking, and one should always attend either game with friends.

 
At 26 March, 2012 23:28, Anonymous tony said...

well, I'm a huge baseball fan but I play softball. and i used to be a soccer player. kinda funny but I just fell in love with baseball. but i'm starting to watch cricket too and im very interested about the game as well. but very sad to say that cricket is not very popular here in my country. i even doubt if most people here know what cricket is

 
At 31 March, 2012 13:34, Anonymous antonio said...

i prefer baseball more than cricket. but both sports are awesome and i wish i can play cricket someday.

 

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