A Conversation for Baseball Basics

Baseball v. cricket: degree of difficulty

Post 1


My English husband & I have been having this discussion for some years. I'm a huge baseball fan (well, maybe not huge, but I could stand tolose ten pounds), and I'd love to know which sport requires the greater athletic skill. I once saw an interview with some Australians who played both sports, and they refused to offer an opinion. Any takers?

Baseball v. cricket: degree of difficulty

Post 2


OK, so it's a delayed response 13 months and all. . .

anyway, John Kruk who played for the Philadelphia Phillies once said, "I'm not an athlete, I play baseball"

So, well I didn't call it an answer I called it a response.
smiley - cheers


degree of difficulty

Post 3


Well, I don't know enough about cricket to answer. But I think that baseball is certainly harder than most sports, including football (under both the American and English meanings of the latter word).

To play baseball, you must be able to run, jump, slide, catch, throw all while remembering the number of outs and number and location of baserunners, and in addition to all of these skills you need to be able to either hit the ball or pitch it, depending on your role as a hitter or pitcher.

Hitting a pitched baseball alone is one of the hardest things in sports. I think it is testament to the challenge of baseball that someone who has a .300 batting average (this ratio represents how often a batter hits the ball relative to how many times he comes to bat) is considered to be having a very good season, and that nobody has hit over .400 since before World War II.

Furthermore, there are many people who have failed at baseball and managed to succeed in other sports, but few the other way round.

Great baseball players make the sport seem deceptively unathletic. While it does not require the same whole-body endurance required to play 90 minutes of a soccer match, it does require a greater repertoire of skills,

degree of difficulty

Post 4


Ahhh, CopyMaster, the old arguement about athleticism vs. "skills"

A great example of that is te pole vault. The technique in polevaulting far outweighs the athleticism of the evnt. One must be in tremendous shape, but technique is far more important.

For my $$$ gymnastics is the ultimate combination of altheticism and skills.


degree of difficulty

Post 5


I'll buy that. I can't think of anything harder both physically and mentally!

degree of difficulty

Post 6


Hmm. I guess the best way is to seperate the major components of the game into 3 common parts. Fielding, Batting, Pitching (or Bowling).

Similar skills and degrees of atheletism are required, for example chasing a ball, catching it, and then accurately throwing the ball to it's destination are commmon features of both games.

Baseball has the added dimension of having four bases instead of two at opposite ends, which I guess adds complexity and a higher degree of strategy to the game. But then cricket fielders don't use a massive glove to help catch the ball, and more of the pitch is in play (360 degrees around batter)

At the same time, both games involve strategically changing the fielding positions as the game progresses.

In sum, there really isn't much in it
The score: 0 - 0

1. The approaching ball: Which are faster, pitches or bowls? (assuming the difficulty of batting increases with the speed). Now, bowlers get a run-up, but most cricket bowls (apart from the yorker) bounce before the batsman plays the ball. Does that balance things out? You'd need to check the figures - i'm told average 90 mph for baseball pitches (are these fast pitch averages??). Cricket bowls can reach speeds in excess of 150 kph plus. Pretty close, a daunting task for both sets of batsmen.

1 - 1

2. Batting Technique: Cricket wins hands down here. The wide array of batting approaches requires both a larger skill base, as opposed to pure instinct. On the other hand: A swing is a swing and not much else, apart from a bunt. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I guess batters do "try" and place the ball in baseball, but the speed and trickery of the pitcher make it very difficult to do so. Cricket players face similar trickery (later), but there attempts to position the ball with precision in the field appears to require more skill.

1 - 2 (cricket winning)

3. Post-hit: Baseball really wins as far the skill required after a hit has been made. The added dimension of four bases, and distinct possibility of stealing bases wins it for baseball.

2 - 2

Pitching (the decider)

1. Technique
2. Physical requirements

1. Technique

A pitcher must be able to manipulate the bowl without it touching the ground. It sounds impossible, but it's done, and done well at high speeds. Both games have speciality pitchers (spinners, fast bowlers), although each particular pitcher is expected to host a wider variety of ball manipulation skills than one particular bowler, although the diversity is equally rich in both games overall.

Both pitchers and bowlers must aim for a target. Both a punished heavily for straying from the target. However, no "foul" territory means more of the pitch must be considered by a bowler, and the placement of the "slip" and wicket keeper take on a richer meaning, than simply the best position to catch a ball.

The communication between catcher and pitcher, though, brings out an important relationship in the game, which is not matched by wicket keeper and bowler to the same extent.

But the added strategic dimension comes from the all important "bounce", which brings in the issue of the crease and surface conditions which can dramatically change the nature of the game and therefore the actions of the bowler. This adds a degree of complexity and skill vacant in baseball.

Controversial and subject to debate:
Score: 2 - 3 (cricket leading)

2. 10 overs, 6 bowls for a well utilised bowler in a one-day cricket game. But there is rotation within the game, as opposed to rotation from game to game (apart from later subsitutions for a closer). Injuries are incurred commonly on both fronts. But due to the intensity of each pitch, and the duration on the mound "per" game, I'd like to say there is a larger physical requirement on baseball pitchers. Let's not forget the run-up however, vital for fast bowlers.

3 - 3 (it's a tie game)

The sudden death inning has to be decided, or does it. That's called a "tie" for the American's out there, there's nothing wrong with a drawn game. Both teams had their strengths and weaknesses.

degree of difficulty

Post 7


"Batting Technique: Cricket wins hands down here.". Whoahh-ha-ha-ha! How can you possibly compare hitting a round ball with a round bat to using a bat with a nice flat surface? Get real! Furthermore, batters *do* place the ball, Wade Boggs is an excellent example of someone who could get a hit in almost any situation due to his skill in placing the ball.

The "bounce": I saw a documentry where they introduced a random element into the bounce, and not one batsman (all professionals) was able to hit a damn thing. Ergo, the pitch must be smooth to give the batters a chance. Ergo, the "bounce" doesn't really add any complexity at all now, does it?

Pitching: surely bowlers are only have to worry about left-to-right? Pitchers must hit a strike zone which only exists in the umpire's head (metaphorically speaking of course!).

Misc: Baseball players play far more often than their cricket counterparts, and every member of the team bats (except for AL teams) whereas some members of a cricket team may rarely get to bat at all, depending on the circumstances.

degree of difficulty

Post 8

5th Earth (speaker to the void)

I would have to bring up a few points about the batting as well.

A cricket batter has a much larger usable area on the bat than a baseball batter does. Being a flat area means that nearly the entire width of the bat can produce a useable hit, and the 360 playing field means that glancing hits are still usually playable. A baseball batter has a smaller length to hit the ball, and both a smaller total width and smaller usable width. I would estimate that a baseball batter has a margin of error in width-direction of about an inch, at most, or else the hit will be either a foul or a "pop fly" which will in all likely hood result in an immediate out.

Regardless, baseball batters can exert some control over the way the ball is hit. Varying power of swing can be easily done, and most batters do make a voluntary decision whether to go for a relatively light "base-hit" or to try and make a home run. This is mostly done with the direction the bat is swung in--by swinging the bat slightly downwards, upwards, or on a level, then a batter can affect the trajectory of the ball (assuming he gets a solid hit int he first place). An area of much greater variation for a baseball batter is left-right variation--though most right-handed batters tend to hit twoards left field, this is a very generalized direction.

Cricket batters have an advantage inasumch as they do not have to impart a significant forward velocity to the ball--that is, they don't have to swing as hard (unless they want to). With less energy devoted to raw power, more muscle and dexterity can be devoted towards technique. A good batsman can hit the ball any direction he wants to, fairly reliably, again assuming he gets a good hit in the first place.

Overall, I guess a baseball batter has a much more difficult time getting a useful hit, while a cricket batsman has a more difficult time making a hit useful. If that makes sense.

Baseball v. cricket: degree of difficulty

Post 9


In terms of sheer athleticism required, I believe (having followed both baseball & cricket from an early age) that baseball probably has the edge. Just hitting a baseball may be the hardest task in all of sport. However, perhaps the question should be which game is more nuanced, more interesting to the viewer. From this perspective, I think cricket wins hands down, as the cricketeer must be more adaptable than the baseball player, as he (or she) plays virtually 2 different types of matches--the regular & the one-day kind. One-day cricket requires a similar mental & aggressive approach in run-getting to that of baseball, but the regular, multi-day event is so much more subtle, with so many different permutations & calculations that it becomes much more of a mental, as well as physical challenge for the batsman. How many times, have you seen a cricketeer, having a great innings, make one easy mistake to ruin it (& how many innings never really get started as well, because Sachin or Brian or Matthew were just not quite warmed up enough & BOOM! Out for a duck. Barry Bonds would still have a few more at bats in a game, even if he fell on his face the 1st time up). Both baseball & cricket share a common bond as both are best viewed in person, & not on a television, which tends to miss significant parts of both sports (conversely,I would rather watch both football/soccer & American football on the telly, as you will be able to more clearly see the play than if you were present at the stadia.

When it comes right down to brass tacks, whether it's the Ashes or the Yankees-Red Sox, when it comes to those intense rivalries which exist in both sports, you are likely to derive pleasure either way.

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