When I wrote about cricket in the Dominican Republic last week, I received an interesting reply from a bloke named Steve:
An English perspective here!
An interesting idea, but I’m not yet entirely convinced. While a batsman in cricket needs to protect the wicket from getting hit (or he will be out), beyond that patience is generally key. If a batsman goes for every ball he risks getting out, particularly if multiple fielders are placed behind him, readying themselves for him to ‘edge’ it behind.
A good batsman will defend balls aimed at the wicket, hit bad balls he is confident will get runs, and leave everything else.
Theoretically a batsman can leave every ball, providing it doesn’t hit the wicket, or doesn’t hit his legs if they are in the way of the wicket. So, I would expect a cricketer to generally be more patient playing baseball, than a ball player playing cricket, as there is no concept of ‘striking out’.
However…just to confuse matters further, shorter forms of cricket (such as Twenty20) are becoming more and more popular, and these forms rely on the scoring of runs within a shorter time period. In this case, the batsman does need to try and hit virtually everything bowled at him, as there is a very limited time period for accumulating runs. So, future cricketers brought up in this style might swing more when playing baseball.
Ed Smith’s book Playing Hard Ball is a great introduction to the similarities and differences between the two sports, if you can find it. Smith was an English cricketer, who happened to be a Mets fan, and be describes his experiences playing cricket, and joining in Spring Training with the Mets.
Just my thoughts. Apologies if this comment is stating the obvious, or missing the point, and thank you for an interesting post!
Steve, thanks for the reply. I enjoy hearing back from readers. I have more info on the game in the DR from Eastern Stars. From pp 105-6:
The boys of Santa Fe played a game they called cricket with a sock ball and four players in two-man teams: one to bowl and one to bat. The bowl was underhanded or sidearm, and there was an old license plate on the ground that served as a wicket. If the bowl hit the plate, you were out. There were three outs to a side. If you hit from one side to another, it was a run. They played twelve run games.
Santa Fe was George Bell’s neighborhood. I’m not sure if this type of game encourages aggressiveness or patience.