Cricket to Baseball to Cricket

I (Evander) am not sure how instructive this one-minute time-lapse video is, as officials prepared Down Under (Sydney Cricket Ground) for the 2014 opening day of Major League Baseball. But one does get a relative sense of distance (the boundary, then the construction of baseball warning tracks possibly of clay [:05], infield [:06 ff.—dirt and definitely clay, layered], walls, and foul poles) as well as proportions relative and relevant to cricket and baseball.

Incidentally, one could make a few observations regarding the way one of these sports (baseball) is played on the major-leagues level and what about it appeals most to fans in order to maximize interest and attendance.

Generally, the baseball field conforms to the shape of the infield diamond. But many baseball fields are asymmetrical in the outfield. There are outfield nooks and crannies; walls are of varying heights, even within the same stadium. Cricket grounds are symmetrical—and the boundary is without the dimension of height variance.

In today’s third-generation baseball-only stadium, the stands hug the field along the foul lines. “Loud” foul balls are rarely caught. Advantage: batter.

Thus, contra most present trends, the present setup is pitcher-friendly in the creation of much foul territory along the right-field line. (It is impossible to figure left field from this angle.)

Checking at the :35-mark following, one sees how little space there is behind the catcher, which could be quite dangerous in a number of ways, including close plays at home plate wherein a thrown ball offline might ricochet in weird ways. The general advantage returns to the batter, as few foul popups to the backstop would remain in play for easy outs.

Note how the pitch is covered and uncovered throughout the video. (In baseball, the infield is thus protected against the elements.) Even though this pitch is very much in-play for baseball, in short-center field, it must be protected and is in a location in which relatively little baseball-action would occur.

Again following from baseball, almost every spectator is far from the action, whereas the crowd would have far better cricket-play sight lines. Further, the third-generation baseball-only stadium features maybe forty percent field-level seats, fewer in the decks and a good number in bleachers or other outfield configurations. The stands leading to the outfield are at steeper angles and reset.

It’s not quite possible to find the location of the bullpens. (For cricket followers: This is where the pitchers warm up, especially relief pitchers preparing to enter the game at the manager’s behest.) In some stadiums, they are on the field in deep foul territory. I suspect in the present arrangement (:30 ff.), the bullpens are between the center-field wall and the viewers’ stands.


About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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1 Response to Cricket to Baseball to Cricket

  1. Michael Lampert says:

    All I can say after watching that video on the transformation of a Cricket Field to Baseball is WOW!!!
    I hope that someday I can have an appreciation for Cricket because just like “Football’s” (Soccer) appeal to the rest of the world, maybe I am missing something having never been exposed to the sport so close to my beloved baseball! Thanks Evander for sharing!

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