Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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American Cricket

The game of cricket, but with American razzamatazz...
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Have you ever wondered why this sublime sport has failed to make an impact across the Atlantic? Ever wondered what a googlie was, but were afraid to ask? Ever heard a discussioin between an American and an Englishman about the different reasons why a cricket ball moves in the air as compared to a baseball? No?
Well let me introduce you to the real beautiful game, voted best all round sport by none other than that prestigious Economist magazine, but, as the above paragraph shows, is totally incomprehensible to the Americans.
So let's adapt this fine example of 'chess played on grass' (one of C.B. Fry's descriptions of test cricket) to the American way, and see if it takes off. This could be done with 10 easy changes to the rules of the game:

1. Remove the seam from the ball, it makes it bounce funny, meaning batsmen don't score half as many runs as they should. And while you're at it get rid of that grass pitch which is so variable, and have everyone play on standard astroturf. That should even things up.
2. Create different scoring zones around the boundary to up the scoring rate. Up the points for a clearing of the boundary to ten, and create a second zone inside the boundary for old fashioned 6's (now fives of course).
3. Give all the fielders huge leather gloves to catch the ball. And while you're at it, make the ball softer (those things hurt you know!)
4. Give every batsman three chances to get out.
5. Reduce overs to 5 balls, and have a 3 minute gap between them to allow for tv ad breaks.
6. Reduce one day matches to three hours, and reduce 5 day test matches to one day.
7. Never have more than one innings (that would mean the captain of the team making a decision that could affect the outcome of the match, and we wouldn't want that). On second thoughts, remove all decisions from the players, and have batting and bowling coaches come on between overs and tell the players what to do.
8. Introduce bad half-time entertainment.
9. Introduce the concept of a specialist fielding team, specialist bowlers and specialist batsmen who do nothing else other than their own job. Allow the teams to change any number of players between overs.
10. Change it's name to 'English Baseball'

That should do it. I'm sure it would then be a far better game. After all, who needs all that complication, with all those decisions in the players own hands, all that variability due to weather and pitch conditions, all that time you need to take to learn the intracacies of the game, when we could have a nice bland fast sport that looks good on tv???

goff, May 01 2001

Kappadi http://www.goindiag...abaddi/kabaddi1.htm
A classic game that should be played worldwide. [Aristotle, May 01 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Southern California Cricket League http://www.scalcricket.org/
Like it says... [goff, May 01 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

American Cricket?? http://www.cricket....RS/USA/LEAGUES.html
Yes, it's even more widespread in the states than you thought. Check out the link...... [goff, May 01 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Greys guide to cricketing teas. http://www.esccskil...eys/grey_other.html
The definitive guide to food preparation at cricket matches. [DrBob, Oct 05 2004, last modified Jun 16 2005]

Cricket in Van Nuys http://www.dailynew...954~2308912,00.html
Ohmigod, it's like totally awesome! [angel, Oct 05 2004]


       I wouldn't watch it.
redpony, May 01 2001

       So.... you're half way to redefining baseball as the 'new' game. Does this planet even need yet another sport where pro's can earn telephone numbers and lead immoral lives with total immunity? One fish vote coming up! I like the "playing chess on grass" definition of cricket, heard another one: "a game played by eleven waiters" - dressed in white and they wait for something to happen. Lets face it, the left and right sides of the pond have different sport preferences and cannot comprehend each other's rules. Uniformity is boring, keep the planet interesting.
jetckalz, May 01 2001

       It would probably be best to put big domes over the pitches as well - don't want rain to interfere (can't see the D/L method being understood too well across the pond ;) )
Rodomontade, May 01 2001

       England being the center (or, should I say, centre) of the known universe, this oversight is understandable. But everyone is identifying the differences between the "sides of the pond." The truth is, all the sports enjoyed by England, including Cricket, Rugby, Association Football, etc. are played and enjoyed world-wide. It is only here in the USA that we thumb our noses at the rest of the universe and play our games the way we like them. It isn't a "sides of the pond" discrepency. Only Australia approaches our beligerence in making up our own rules (Aussie rules football -- what a mad-cap circus act that is!), but even they continue to embrace the old games while indulging in their own peculiar reconstructions of them.
globaltourniquet, May 02 2001

       The comparison with soccer can be approached in a different way. As I understand it, in the US, soccer is played mainly by girls and children, and watched by their parents, whereas in the UK it's played by grossly overpaid cretins and watched by mindless hooligans who then attempt to kill each other regardless of who wins. (I may be oversimplifying slightly.) Football (American variety) is a totally different game, as is Aussie rules.
English cricket, in its purest form, is played on the village green to a soundtrack of church bells, accompanied by warm, flat beer and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. How can this be Americanized? It's already civilized. No work is needed.
angel, May 02 2001

       Keep the rules the same-just give everybody shotguns
thumbwax, May 02 2001

       You don't need to 'Americanize' cricket in order to make it entertaining and angel's description of it is totally foreign to my experience of the game. For more info, check out the link on my profile page.
And it's not true about American's not getting cricket either. Even *my* crap team has got one American fan and a google search on USA+cricket league registers nearly 400 hits (more than I've managed in my entire batting career).
<aside to audience> Honestly, I don't know why I bother sometimes.
DrBob, May 02 2001

       Exactly my point, good [DrBob]; whereas soccer needed to be Americanized (ie converted from a minor war to a family-friendly game), cricket is fine just as it is. I am simultaneously being nice to cricket *and* Americans.
angel, May 02 2001

       In my experience [of college sport (2nd XI)], fights are equally likely to break out during games of football and games of cricket.   

       I am yet to see (live) a fight break out amongst supporters (aka 'hooligans') at a professional football match.   

       [UnaBubba] You may be right about Aussie Rules being the first football variant to be codified. It seems that the first attempt at creating a unified set of rules for Association Football was around the period 1846-1848, but no official codification was made until 1863, just before the formation of the Football Association.
Rodomontade, May 02 2001

       Regarding more summer sports, I think America could survive the introduction of Kabaddi, a classic Indian game (see link). Think of it as volley ball, but without the ball.   

       It could also provide an excuse to show Bollywood films during the Hollywood actors and writers strike.
Aristotle, May 02 2001

       Aaah, I remember when Kabbadi burst on to the UK scene via Channel 4 ... cue scores of schoolchildren chasing each other round the playground, albeit with the added squealing of 'Kabbadi! Kabbadi! Kabbadi!'
Rodomontade, May 02 2001

       As a big baseball fan and occasional cricket fan, here are my takes on the suggestions:   

       1. Keep the seam, it makes things more interesting. And nobody likes astroturf. If any changes need to be made, allow the ball to be thrown. (Basically, I want to see Greg Maddux "bowl" to Ichiro Suzuki.)   

       2. Keep the scoring simple. But allow catches to be made over the boundary.   

       3. If you add gloves, you've got to reduce the number of fielders to compensate. Personally, I think this is a bad idea because it gets rid of a good selling point for the game.   

       4. Don't need multiple chances to get out, unless you plan to rotate the batters as in baseball. Otherwise they'll be batting FOREVER.   

       5. Cheapshot. There'd probably be commercial time outs, though not every over.   

       6. To succeed in America, matches will have to be shorter (limited overs?). A playoff could be a multiple-day match.   

       7. Again, it's a matter of the time the game takes.   

       8. Nobody watches half-time shows unless they have to.   

       9. Nobody likes the DH, which is what you're proposing.   

       10. Change its name to "Extreme Ball" and redesign the uniforms.   

       Basically, to market cricket to Americans, you need to do two things: decrease the length of the game, and change the image from that of a game played by English dilletantes to that of "more badass than baseball."
bookworm, May 02 2001

       How about just changing the name to Crackit
thumbwax, May 02 2001

       To see cricket go to Sillicon Valley where Indian software developers, who are often keen cricketeers, have formed leagues. Alternatively look for TV feeds from almost any commonwealth country - BBC Worldwide, for example, might cover cricket matches.
Aristotle, May 03 2001

       I think you're marketing cricket to the wrong American crowd. My college & my last employer had enough expats to field cricket teams regularly, and the charm of wandering around the edges of a perfect green lawn in pleasant weather, drinking good beer and flirting, was completely accessible. I even learned a few of the rules, although I've forgotten them all already.   

       Come to think of it, associating it with "corporate campuses" is Americanization.
hello_c, May 08 2001

       I don't understand - so far it seems like the chief difference for those watching cricket games vs. those watching baseball games is that the cricket games feature good beer?
clynne, May 08 2001

       Pardon me while I grab my clubs to play the one Brit sport that's really worthwhile:   

wasraw, May 08 2001

       Well, I'm glad to see I generated so much controversy.Personally, of course I wouldn't change cricket, and yes, the whole idea probably is just a thinly veiled cheap shot at the way Americans approach any kind of sport and take all the improvisation and character out of it (I'll make one exception - basketball still relies more on the guys on court than any other American sport, and it certaily isn't short of improvisation or inspiration).
The reason that The Economist voted cricket the best all round sport was on the grounds that anyone, of any size, shape, and athletic ability can make a meaningful impact, and you don't need to be some kind of physical freak to excel at the game. Most of the world's all time greatest batsmen have been well under six feet tall, and not all that big physically either (Bradman, Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Lara), on the other hand there is room for the big guy in the fast bowling end of the game (Joel Garner was 6 5 and had size 13 feet). But most of all, cricket is probably the most strategic thinking game going, it relies on individual performance (batsman v bowler) but is a team sport, where you must work with your partner when batting, and work for the team when you're fielding (much more so than in baseball). It requires skill to play, and when played well, is one of the most graceful sports you can watch.
Cricket probably is as English as tea and scones, but it has had impact in the states - I read of an all black cricket team in south central LA that came together after the riots as a way of getting some community spirit back. In fact, SOuthern California has quite a strong league (see link).
All in all, I think my vote goes with the Economist. Cricket is thus far, the pinnacle of man's sporting invention, and I don't think any new sport is likely to come along to knock it off top spot.
goff, May 09 2001

       I've heard some people postulate that Cricket shows signs of its evolution from a pre-industrial, agricultural society. Full cricket matches can go on for several days, something you can only do when the prevalent agricultural cycle provides a lull. The combination of teamwork on the fielding, partnership by the current batting pair and various skills you have to learn makes it one of the classic games.   

       It was used by the English to civilise the world and noteably the Pakistani and Indian cricket teams still play each other, despite being nuclear powers engaged in a cold war with each other.
Aristotle, May 09 2001

       True, but if you've ever seen coverage of an India v Pakistan test match from Karachi, you'd sometimes have trouble telling whether it was cricket or war anyway...
goff, May 09 2001

       actually i heard on the news a while ago that public fields and leagues for proper cricket had been set up in manhattan to give young people something to distract them from joining gangs and had become a major success (no joke) the only problem was that the game was constantly interrupted by people who were watching the game with a picnic in the middle of the pitch because "they're only playing on the little square bit in the middle"
chud, Jul 10 2001

       Americans don't have _time_ for a proper cricket game. Do you think its easy dumbing down as massive a population as we have? No, that takes alot of time and hard, grueling work, I tell you. We're kinda like the Romans--basically rule much of the known world, see other cultures as not much more than interesting sideshows, and only have time for quick, cheap thrills. <rant mode off>
RayfordSteele, Feb 08 2002

       the scary part: there IS an American cricket league now, with 20 overs of 5 balls and a designated batsman/bowler.   

polarb, Jul 28 2004

       Would this be more or less exciting than the already ineffably dull American baseball?

And, now, for a completely irritating annotation...
bristolz, Jul 28 2004











       WILL HUNT   


DesertFox, Jul 28 2004

       [Unabuba] - Aussie Rules was based an an Aboriginal Game called Marn Grook, with bits of Gaelic football thrown in. Soccer and rugby had nothing to do with it. It is also the dominant sport played throughout Australia, except for a small coastal enclave stretching from Wollongong to Brisbane.
simonj, Jul 28 2004

       //It is also the dominant sport played throughout Australia, except for a small coastal enclave stretching from Wollongong to Brisbane// [simonj] - I back you on that, but I would add that as far as club members go, the Sydney (go you Swannies) and Brisbane (piss off Aker) AFL clubs kill 90% of league and union *clubs* for support. While AFL may not dominate in the areas you mention, it is also safe to say no one other code dominates either. Super 12 and International rugby have a good following, league has its following, but no one code has a dominant following over this region. (my 2 cents only of course)
Lacus Trasumenus, Jul 29 2004

       Oh and by the way, [DF], your anno sums you up to a tee.
Lacus Trasumenus, Jul 29 2004

       Did you mention having cheer leaders run out in their scanty costumes waving something in the air and kicking up their legs as each batter walks up to the plate.... errrr wicket. (Sorry if you did mention it because I could not be bothered reading everybody elses comments)   

       [angel] Why do English cricketers cut the crusts off their sandwiches ? Have their teeth rotted out and they cant chew or dont they want curly hair?
tasman, Jul 29 2004

       //Why do English cricketers cut the crusts off their sandwiches ? //
It is proverbially regarded as the genteel thing to do. Cricket was proverbially regarded as a genteel sport.
angel, Jul 29 2004

       Aussie cricketers, being so much tougher (and uncivilized apparently), eat the crusts.
Lacus Trasumenus, Jul 29 2004

       I imagine that most cricketers do. My cited comment refers to the spectators, not the players. Furthermore, "not genteel" is not the same as "uncivilized".
angel, Jul 29 2004

       Actually in Australia cricket spectators partake of croissants and chardoney
tasman, Jul 29 2004

       //croissants and chardoney//   

       ...and the frogs are upset at our stealing their culture and mashing of the varietals.
ConsulFlaminicus, Jul 29 2004

       Unfortunatly, the icecream salesmen are no more...they've been replaced with polo-shirt wearing nerds.
simonj, Jul 29 2004

       The first way to de-popularize any sport over here is to call it 'English-' anything. Americans don't associate the two together that much for some reason. Mention 'English' and we think of tea and Margaret Thatcher and the Queen, not sports, which is odd because if you say 'British,' then we think of the Empire, soccer fans, the Navy, and such.   

       Best way to market it: call it 'Australian Baseball' here. Americans love their warped stereotype of the Australian image for some reason. They think 'just like Texas, but with more interesting animals.'
RayfordSteele, Jul 29 2004

       ey cobber If I want to spell chardonnay C H A R D O N E Y I will bloody well spell it that way
tasman, Jul 29 2004

       //Aussie cricketers, being so much tougher (and uncivilized apparently), eat the crusts.//

Ha! The fatties in my cricket team had such voracious appetites that not only did they eat the bread and the crusts but, if you didn't keep a careful eye on them, they'd eat their fingers and half of their arm as well.
DrBob, Jul 30 2004

       Oh great.Combine two equally boring games.
python, Jul 30 2004

       Actually, this is being attempted in some way - theres a new format called 20-20, and they are attempting to start a professional league here. Desert Fox - you should sign up.
energy guy, Jul 30 2004

       DesertFox, the next Shane Warne?
Lacus Trasumenus, Aug 02 2004


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