"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


I’m a bit out of the loop, since I just got back from a week in England – I apologize in advance. No cell phone or laptop, away from the internet, I completely missed all the baseball news… well, okay, I borrowed my friend’s computer a time or two during the Red Sox series, but just for a minute. So I’m still catching up on everything that happened while I was gone (did someone mention a timely bunt Tuesday night?). Ask me anything about England’s recent cricket victory over Australia, though!

The Yankees, as is their wont these days, bounced back from last night’s loss with a 9-2 win over the Texas Rangers. New York scored three in the second, then blew the game open with five more in the seventh, and every starter had at least one hit except Melky Cabrera (even he had a lovely bunt). The Yanks also got some reassuringly solid pitching after their recent rough-ish patch; Andy Pettitte went seven innings and allowed just two earned runs, with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Rangers starter Derek Holland actually pitched pretty well for someone who was charged with six earned runs, but he paid for just about all of his mistakes. The Yanks’ big blows were Jorge Posada’s three-run homer in the second, Jerry Hairston Jr.’s solo shot in the fourth, and the seventh-inning onslaught that began with a poor defensive play and a Robinson Cano double, and ended some time later with a Mark Teixeira single off of Jason Jennings. Brian Bruney’s eighth inning outing was good enough under the circumstances, and Phil Coke tied the bow around the night.

I found myself thinking today, reading about Oliver Perez’s season-ending trip to the DL, that I need to start writing more about the Mets, because their season has been so fascinating (in a horrific way, but still), while the Yankees right now are extremely pleasant to watch but just don’t give you a ton of juicy material. Don’t worry – as soon as the thought flickered across my brain I spat three times and knocked on all the wood in my apartment.

Side Note: I had always previously assumed that cricket was at least somewhat related to baseball – since, after all, it involves a pitcher and a batter and fielders – and that I would therefore be able to follow it a little bit, even just vaguely. This turns out not to be the case at all. For example, this is what the scoreboard looked like at last Thursday’s club game at Lords:


The six in “308 for 6” refers to six wickets, in case you were wondering – I sure was. It took three or four different British friends and acquaintances explaining the rules to me before I began to get the idea, and I’m still fuzzy on a number of details. Also, the big England vs Australia game was a “test match”, which usually last five days, although this one only went four; can you imagine watching five straight days, nearly eight hours per day, of one Red Sox-Yankees game? Some of my favorite Banter commenters would have to be hospitalized.



Categories:  Bronx Banter  Emma Span

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1 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 27, 2009 6:26 am

Tally-Ho Emma, welcome back to the U-S-A! Did you actually get to see the "Ashes" (England vs Australia) or just a county match?

I was baffled by cricket too at first till a cousin from the West Indies well versed in baseball explained it to me like this:

Take home plate and put it in the center of the field. there is no longer "foul" territory, everywhere you hit it is ok.
Replace home plate with a "wicket", one on each end of the dirt "pitch".
A "bowler" runs and "bowls" the ball towards the batter on Team One. The batter has to protect his wicket! If the ball hits the wicket the batter is OUT. A great batter can protect the wicket and bat for hours...in some legendary cases for days!
Similar to baseball, if you hit it in the air and the fielders catch it, you are OUT. Hit on the ground and you score runs.
The entire team bats 1-10, and a final score is set, say around 400 runs. then the other team bats ans scores say 350. This may take 2 or 3 days.
Then Team One bats again..and scores another 400..they then "declare" (give up their remaining batters) as they lead by 800 to 350...Team Two then has to make up the 450 runs in the time remainings..if Team One gets their good batter out quickly, they will likely win.

There's more technical parts with the "Overs" (6 balls i think) and tons of baffling terminology (as in baseball!). I especially love the "Googly" and the "Chinaman", though can't remember what they mean now :)

Here's a clip of one of the all-time great bowlers:

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 27, 2009 6:32 am

[1] Oh to picture a great cricket batter..think Yogi Berra, Vlad Guerrrero or Ichiro..phenomenal bat control, timing and the ability to make contact on balls in the dirt or at their head.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:10 am

Is there sacrifice bunting in cricket? If so, does it ignite 15 page argy bargys on British Banter?

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:28 am


"Nick Swisher" DOES have a bit of a British tinge to it ...

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:30 am

[1] Sorry, Jazz, that didn't really help much. I think I'd have to immerse myself in a match like Emma did to really understand, though I suspect that's cricket's fault, not yours.

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:35 am

[4] yes, of course, who could forget Paul Revere's historic midnight ride, and his famous cry: "The Swishers are coming! The Swishers are coming! Don't fucking bunt! The Swishers are coming!"

7 vockins   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:38 am

I found a copy of the Wisden almanac on the street about a year ago. I read portions of it in the can i an effort to "get" cricket. Probably not the best introduction. I did watch Twenty20 last year, and that was pretty cool.

Have their been any Indian or Pakistani players in MLB?

And on a barely related note, is there any way to leave a ticket I have in hand at the stadium for a friend that will arrive late, short of leaving it under a rock?

8 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:55 am

Throw the googlie, throw the googlie.

9 ms october   ~  Aug 27, 2009 8:59 am

nice title emma - my mom used to play rounders

[6] hahahaha - very nice sliced

10 The Hawk   ~  Aug 27, 2009 9:26 am

My mom used to have this novelty dishtowel that explained the rules of cricket in a humorously tortuous way - I think in some ways the Brits are proud of how convoluted it is.

11 RIYank   ~  Aug 27, 2009 9:39 am

[8] Bowl a googly, Alex.

I know a bit about cricket -- I lived in Australia for a while. But much of it really still seems pretty mysterious to me. My kids understand it well, because they played it in Australian schools.

12 Simone   ~  Aug 27, 2009 9:44 am

Welcome back, Emma. I love cricket. It is my favorite sport! It isn't similar to baseball. Trust me a 4 day cricket match can fly by in the blink of an eye. There are one day matches, but they aren't half as much fun.

13 Toxic   ~  Aug 27, 2009 9:44 am

[10] Dear boy cricket doesn't have rules it has laws.

[1] Googly is an off break bowled with a leg break action, by a right handed wrist spinner to a right handed batsman.

Chinaman is a left handed wrist spinner.

Toxic: top order bat, pie chucker, inept fielder.

14 Toxic   ~  Aug 27, 2009 9:54 am

[10] the dishtowel went something like

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.

Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.

15 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 27, 2009 10:14 am


Isn't A.J. Burnett a pie-chucker? :-)

16 Toxic   ~  Aug 27, 2009 10:19 am


:-D and his pies have more chance of gating someone out than the rubbish I've delivered

17 Raf   ~  Aug 27, 2009 10:44 am

Have their been any Indian or Pakistani players in MLB?

To my knowledge, no. But the Pirates did sign a couple of amateur players from India. They're pitching for the GCL Pirates.

As for Cricket, I'm still learning about it, I kinda have the basics down. I would like to try my hand at it someday. I see games all the time @ Flushing Meadows and Ferry Point Park.

I know a couple of girls who tried to make the switch from cricket to baseball/softball, it was an interesting experience trying to coach them. The swing mechanics are completely different. I kept telling them that they could swing through the ball. I guess they would've made excellent bunters, I suppose.

18 Raf   ~  Aug 27, 2009 10:48 am

LHP Rinku Singh (20)
RHP Dinesh Kumar Patel (19)

19 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 27, 2009 11:12 am

[10] My "mum" (as we'd say if this was the UK) is from Scotland, and I can tell you from firsthand tales, the Brits are ridiculously proud of how convoluted their monetary denominations are - so it would not surprise me if the same were true of cricket rules.

[0] Fantastic article, Emma! 5 days of 8 hour long Yankee-Red Sox matches might grind the entire Northeast to a halt. Forget how long it would take for some of our regulars to be hauled off to the hospital for treatment of coronaries - I think ESPN might explode if that ever happened.

20 Toxic   ~  Aug 27, 2009 11:25 am


Unfortunately they dumbed down pounds shillings and pence some time back but they'll never get our cricket.

21 Emma Span   ~  Aug 27, 2009 11:53 am

[1] Thanks! Yes, I get the general idea now, but it took a lot of patient explaining by my friend's British husband. Last Thursday I wandered into a free, almost empty county match at Lord's for a while, which is where I took the photos, and was completely baffled; then on Sunday we watched the Ashes match on a big screen in Regent's Park, which is where I began to at least vaguely understand what was happening. Sorta.

[17] One of my (American) friends living in London had a similar experience in reverse. He went to a cricket batting cage, or whatever the equivalent is called, and kept trying to swing through the ball - to hit a home run, basically - which is completely the wrong way to do it, as many people told him.

22 Evil Empire   ~  Aug 27, 2009 9:06 pm

Those empty cricket stands look like left field in Yankee Stadium circa 1972

23 Toxic   ~  Aug 28, 2009 7:37 am

That's pretty much the scene throughout the first class county cricket game these days, four days of empty stands bar the proverbial one man and his dog.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver