Our colleague Parth has already told us of the loss to cricket that the passing of cricket legend and commentator Richie Benaud means to the game. I (Martin) thought that I’d my thoughts. As Parth notes, and as Evander and I mention in our book Right Off the Bat, cricket and baseball lend themselves to the rhythms of summer—which include the reflective and interpretive expressions of radio and television commentators (and the boor in the seat next to you) and the beery barracking and whoops and hubbub of crowds alike. Yet baseball and cricket have their moments of great stillness and quiet—or at least they used to. After a very successful career, Benaud moved into commentary (first on the radio and then on television) where he became known for his incisive and wry observations and for not saying anything when nothing needed to be added to what was unfolding before us. These days, when both sports are filled with noise—from the crowd, the stadium entertainment complex itself, and on the airwaves—it takes the passing of a broadcasting giant like Benaud for us to remember that both games once didn’t need to be ginned up to absorb a public that knew how to pay attention and wasn’t as easily distracted.
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