Friday, 26 September 2008

Cricket vs Baseball: Round 3 - Protection

The final round in the colossal firefight between cricket and baseball ends today with a look at the protection required to keep players from injuring themselves. As both sports involve hard balls being thrown at the batsman as fast as possible, you would think that they would have developed a similar style. But no.

What attracted Nightwatchgirl's attention initially was the hat the baseball players wear when batting. Depending upon whether they are left or right handed, the side of the head facing the pitcher (correct term?) will cover their ear. The other side will not. This is annoying. Why not just have both sides covering both ears? Is it frowned upon? Does it use up too much plastic (when has America really cared about unnecessary wastage when it comes to, well, anything?)?

The cricket helmet is the bees knees of ball-in-the-face protection. With a hefty grill covering the front of the face, you could naturally assume that it would protect the head area adequately. Alas, that would be incorrect. For as much as it looks like it could offer some relief from being smashed in the skull by a hard ball, it has abandoned many a player in their second of need. Teeth have been knocked out (New Zealander, Daniel Flynn, two to be exact), scars have been made (Aussie, Ricky Ponting) and wickets have been dismantled (Kevin Pietersen - it was pretty comical).

Then there comes the art of padding in cricket. Almost every area conceivable has its own version of the pad. Legs, arms, ribs, hands, teeth and baby-making equipment each have their own pad design. This also does not offer complete protection from broken bones or nasty bruises.

In baseball, it seems only one player gets the padding and that is for the catcher (is this the correct term?). He gets all the padding in the world, covering him basically from head to toe. His face, his body and his legs are all deeply padded or grilled (this is definitely necessary).

We must now turn to gloves. Only one member of a cricket team is allowed to wear gloves and this is the wicketkeeper. These have a sort of webbing that might be handy for swimming as well as catching the balls left by the batsmen (or if the batsman's unlucky and he does hit the ball, but didn't mean to).

In baseball, all the fielders get to wear gloves. Only on one hand. And they are shaped very strangely. This seems unfair because it surely provides them with a greater chance of being able to catch the ball, because they look more like a giant scooping device.

And there ends the great debate between cricket and baseball. Both sports feature runs, innings, balls and bats but they couldn't be more different. Each have their plus points (food in seats really does appeal) and each have their own negative points (baseball: it's not cricket, cricket: no food in seats - Nightwatchgirl is becoming slightly obsessed).

Nightwatchgirl will stick to cricket for the time being. But it's been an interesting ride along the way and Americans aren't as crazy as previously thought; baseball has potential.

So, it obviously must come down to how many hits on google for each sport. When cricket is typed in to google it gets 84.2 million hits. Baseball gets 237. Million. Bum.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Cricket vs Baseball: Round 2 - The Outfits

The outfit for playing sport professionally is vitally important. It requires keeping you warm and cool when necessary (obviously at different points in time). It needs to cover all the right places constantly (kilts in this situation would definitely not work) and, finally, it has to look good (read professional).

Cricketers change their outfit depending upon which form of the game they are playing. For Test matches, it will always be white (well, it used to be cream, but Addidas put a stop to that and now it's whiter than white, even blinding white). For some reason, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 games require a whole different colour scheme (reasons unknown. Would we get confused if they always played in their whites? More importantly, would the players get confused playing in whites and forget which form of the game they were playing?).

Die hard, old school cricket fans (the MCC member) call this look (i.e. the outfit with colours) 'pyjamas.' This is because they hate it and the shorter forms of the game (this will never change - ever). It has nothing to do with sleeping. At all.

Baseball outfits are very different. There are weird, tight trousers (leggings?) involved and cardigans. Basically, the attention to detail and imagination have been lost somewhere over the Atlantic. Do they keep the player cool when they're hot? Do they keep the player warm when cold? There does not appear to be any use in Baseball of the magical 'skins' used by cricketers underneath their outfit as some sort of alien device that helps their muscles contract or whatever it is that they do magically.

Therefore, in conclusion, baseball outfits lack colour change, imagination and variety. Cricket lacks the cardigans, which might make a nice change from the jumper-with-no-sleeves approach.

Perhaps a combination of the two would produce some super, hybrid technology that would play the sport for the player without the player having to actually do anything. Genius.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Cricket vs Baseball: Round 1

Nightwatchgirl couldn't help but enquire as she was gliding round New York, in between all the shopping in the warm sunshine, as to why it is that baseball is so popular in the States and cricket is not.

OK, so she is totally out of her comfort zone when discussing the American game, perhaps even to go as far as she has no real idea of why or how anyone could find it remotely interesting, but there are a lot (a lot) of Americans who are as potty about baseball as the rest of the world is about cricket. So there must be something about it. But what?

Is it easier?

More exciting?

More daring?

The answer is yes (wink wink), no and no.

Nightwatchgirl is aware that there are some Americans who occasionally glance at this blog, so she beseeches them, no, pleads with them, to explain what it is about baseball that is better than cricket.

And why it is that any mention of cricket to an American, their eyes glaze over, they yawn incessantly and start to try and do an English accent (badly).

As Nightwatchgirl understands it, cricket is the fastest growing sport in the US. Will it ever achieve baseball standards? Definitely no. But with the better weather over there, their love of food being sold directly in their seats (seriously, cricket organisers - this is a great idea), the game (or at least twenty20) could catch on as an underground, secret, cult-like status pastime.

The idea of being encouraged to drink for the entire length of the game must be an incentive to get the American interested (it does us alright). And then, who knows....?

Monday, 22 September 2008

KP Battles Economic Woe for Britain - What a Hero

All Nightwatchgirl does is travel across the pond and on her return, despite the world losing all its pocket change down the back of a really large sofa with extra big cushions and making the governments of the world go find it, Kevin Pietersen is buying a house four sizes too big for him from some poor banker who probably had to sell due to a serious case of over-spending.

The house in question is a whopping and eye-watering £15 million.

£15 million ( just in case you missed it the first time).

Where has he found all this money from?

And what has happened in this world that cricketers are now buying footballers homes and, more importantly where does this leave the humble footballer? Buckingham Palace?

p.s. it's good to be back.