Baseball season is here and so our thoughts turn to cricket, a game that is just like baseball except for the myriad ways in which it is not.
Cricket jumps up, so to speak, because there is a movement underway (as opposed to underfoot) to make Indianapolis, a city familiar to most of us, the Cricket Capital Of The World. This would only add to the luster of a city already known as the Euchre and Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Capital.
Of course, the 14 people in Indianapolis who understand and like cricket are thrilled. The rest of us are mystified, which seems the only reasonable reaction.
To Americans raised on a sports diet of baseball, basketball, football and hockey, cricket is the sort of thing that causes headaches if you try to figure it out for yourself. Here are some things you need to know about cricket:
1. It is not baseball. We’ve covered this already.
2. The teams consist of 11 players on each side. Positions include the bowler, the catcher, wicket keeper, long stop, slips, right bower, left out, guy over here, guy over there, upper and lower squamish, and designated jiminy (American League only).
3. It is the only game named after a bug. It chose this unusual name because all the good ones (horse racing, cards, Steve) were already taken.
4. To the untrained eye, a match looks as if one person throws the ball in a most peculiar galloping overhand motion, and a man wielding a fraternity paddle tries to hit it back at him, after which people clap politely. It also looks this way to the trained eye.
5. No actual crickets are involved.
OK, time out, or whatever they say in cricket. Let me clear up a couple of things. I know there are more than 14 people in Central Indiana who like cricket. In fact, it’s a tribute to our growing international community that this Cricket Capital Of The World idea even took root. Great for us that we have such interesting people who have come to live among us, and I mean it.
So here’s to you, Central Indiana cricket hopefuls. I hope your fast bowlers come through and your batsmen guide the good length balls to wherever they’re supposed to go and wickets are taken. Play ball, have at it, chirp, or whatever it is you crickets say.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on speaking fees and availability.