The national pastime: reworked, reformatted and redefined

Some final thoughts on the baseball:

1. The flashy ticket I talked of in one of my earlier posts was most likely because it was printed off Tickets.com: There were regular-looking tickets so having graphics-laden tickets was not a baseball trait.

2. Everything that was right in baseball is wrong in cricket (and, of course, vice versa): I spent the first few innings cheering for sixers (when the ball goes over the white lines or ropes in cricket) for the Nats only to find that the white lines were foul lines and hitting beyond them was bad. One common thing: being caught is out* so I did cheer the right team for that.

3. I need to get my eyes checked: Sitting through four hours of watching a sport whose rules I do not know and not being able to see the scoreboard is not recommended. Oh, though sitting in the 500s section is actually okay since it has a roof. It didn't rain but, if it had, there was a roof.

4. Leaving right after PWIGTOFs left is also not recommended: Being huge baseball fans, they were waiting at the exit, probably hoping to see the final shot of the innings or something.

5. The introduction to the local players were rather fun: the initial introductions were accompanied by a firecracker after each player's name, stats and picture came up on the big screen. Later introductions, for what were probably the stars of the team, were more individualised. E.g. Zimmerman (see? I even know names now) came out to bat accompanied by leaping flames and a big "Z" sign. This was up on the TV, not on the ground though it might have livened up the match a bit if he had been accompanied by leaping flames on the ground.

6. The best TV moment: when an older bloke in a bright blue T-shirt danced, rather suggestively, for the benefit of all of us watching. This went on for a while.

7. I wish I'd seen this before I taught kids about American identity moment: Oh, almost all of the rituals--the military planes, the Army guy, the band and the songs, the flag, the firecrackers, and, of course, the Presidents' Race. This was when four people, dressed up as former US Presidents** raced each other on the tracks alongside the field. It was quite possibly the funniest on-field event***

8. The best baseball concept: "Stealing" a base. I actually found this whole idea gloriously sneaky and almost contrary to the wholesome American-ness of the rest of the spectacle. The idea of a player being able to get a run even before the bowler bowls is fantastic. Again, in cricket, the bowler would run him out and that would be that.

9. A bit of a disappointment: no sledging at all****

10. Oh I finally get some of it moment: the 5th innings when the Nationals scored two run and I actually understood what was going on. Or, seemed to understand, which, for me, is pretty much the same thing. Or, maybe it was during the 6th? I'm not sure.

* In true American sport fashion, even the fielders had gloves on (well, one glove each) making the process of catching the ball rather tame in that they caught almost all of the skied shots.

** I recognised two (George Washington, who won, and Abraham Lincoln). I was told the other two were Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. I think Reagan could have beaten them all.

*** While the 5th (I think?) innings was lots of fun with us all standing up and cheering some guy who ran around all the blocks without being out, it didn't compare to seeing grown-up people, wearing huge masks, racing against each other. Such moments cannot be replicated.

**** Since there was a bit of confusion about the meaning of sledging, let me say that it's a cricketing term for psyching out the opposition batsman (usually only bowlers and close-in fielders sledge) by using (abusive though often funny) language. These days, due to on-pitch microphones and complaints by batsmen, sledging has decreased but, if you watch a test match, you can still hear some choice words. Especially if Australia (top sledgers because apparently they can talk, one commentator once said, "without moving their lips so you never know who's sledging"!) and South Africa are involved. Pakistan's great at it too and Pakistani players often get away with sledging by speaking in Urdu. Players (and the crowd, most of whom are listening to commentary on the radio) appreciate a good sledging, as exemplified here (scroll down for examples) though there's also controversy about how far players can and should go in terms of creating "mental disintegration" in batsmen (as Steve Waugh, a former Australian captain and an expert sledger called it). And, I'm sure yous all thought cricket was really a "gentlemen's game".


At 7/28/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger Bionic-Woman said...

I love the on-pitch microphones; yup the Pakistani team can be quite colorful. If I'm not mistaken, they took them out for some series or other in Pakistan because the government-owned channel thought the profanity was overwhelming and shouldn't be broadcast on national television but they had to bring them back because it was affecting the ratings and I guess Pepsi rules over all else. Particularly entertaining if you're trying to stay glued to a 5 day test match....hmm push comes to shove I think I'll take writing over the 5 day match. I'm a one-day kind of gal. Of course, next to an India-Pakistan gig (which is supremely fun for other reasons) a Pakistan vs. Australia match, IMHO, is the most fun of them all since it's sledging galore....okay except for the fact that we end up losing more often than not in recent times. The Pakistani team's fielding is horrendous :-(.

We should totally watch the cricket world cup together if we can manage to be in the same space-time particularity.

At 7/28/2006 11:22 AM, Blogger Priya said...

We should--I think the place I watched the World Cup at will show matches on the big screen.

I, of course, prefer footy. But, have to admit a sneaking fondness for cricket as a social activity :-)


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