View Full Version : English baseball fans or American cricket fans?

06-28-2003, 11:29 AM
An article I read on J.K. Rowling suggested she invented Quidditch because it was similar to "American basketball." I'm not sure why the article chose to phrase her response this way; I'd have thought there was only one kind of basketball.

I also read a story about cricket leagues in the United States (in Texas, I think) of transplanted Indian and English players who pined for the old game and put together teams. And just prior to the Superbowl, there was an article about British fans of American football (one commentator admitted sheepishly that he was a follower of the recently-unlucky Buffalo Bills).

Are there any Dopers from the UK who are fans of traditionally American sports, such as baseball, American-style football, or basketball? Or, for that matter, Canadian hockey? Why do you follow them?

Are there any North American Dopers who are fans of traditionally British or European sports, such as cricket, rugby, European football, and so on? Why?

Rugby is occasionally shown on ESPN in the Seattle area, but I have not seen cricket. I'm also curious if there is a videogame equivalent of either sport released in Europe. Do they release video games of American sports in the European markets?


06-28-2003, 11:48 AM
North American (Canuck) here,

I'm not a really big fan of rugby for one reason or another, just can't get into it. I do, however, enjoy Cricket. My brothers and I play a similar version of cricket in our backyard quite a bit. It's actually quite similar except that we only have teams of two. I don't have an opportunity to watch it on TV very often, only when it is on Fox Sports World. I watch it whenever it is on though.

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-28-2003, 12:11 PM
Basketball is the most popular indoor sport in the world (an in the UK too where a few years ago it replaced Badminton) and the only American Sport that has travelled well.

In England they do show the American sports on the Graveyard slot of Britains fifth terrestrial channel (Ch5), but most (with the exception of basketball) only have very small cult followings.

Popularity of American Sports in the UK:

Basketball is very popular (infact MC, being 6'3", used to play alot), it's more popular as a sport to play than to watch though quite a few people follow the NBA and it's European Leagues.

Ice Hockey is the next popular and wherevre there is an ice rink they're will be an ice hockey team which will attract reasonable sized crowds and the NHL will also get some viewers to tune in.

American Football is not that popular as it is very simlair to the sports it was derived from, Rugby Union and Rugby League and the wearing of body armour is thought of as slighty effete. There was a British league set up but very few watch or play this.

Baseball isn't popular either and is only slightly different from the British game of rounders from which it was derived. Some people like to play softball (MC included), but I don't think there is an English league and absolutely no attention is payed to the American league.

American Sports have a hard time competing with 'the beautiful game' outside of their country of origin.

06-28-2003, 12:20 PM
Basketball travels, eh? I think you get whistled for that. Still, I wonder why the article said "American basketball." Weird.

Anyway, I know baseball and American football weren't popular outside the U.S. (and various islands and/or protectorates). I was just curious if anybody here was traitor to their national sports regime.


MC Master of Ceremonies
06-28-2003, 12:26 PM
Oh yes, I didn't answer your questions about video games:

All the basketball games are realeased in Europe and it's probably the same for ice hockey, John Madden was a popular video game series here and most American football games will also get a release (it's probably much more popular as a video game than as an actual game). They have released a few baseball games but in general they're not hugely popular.

06-28-2003, 01:44 PM
Did somebody call my name? :)

I have been involved in cricket leagues in California, Maryland, and Ontario. I have a subscription to Wisden.com. There is a picture of Muttiah Muralitharan, and the scorecard of the Canada-Bangladesh 2003 World Cup match, pinned on the corkboard immediately to the left of where I sit now. I purchased a Slazenger V800 bat earlier this year (you don't want to know how much for).

I was born and raised in America, lived here until I was 20, and I didn't even see a game of cricket until I was 18. I played in my first game seven years ago.

It surprises a lot of people that there is so much cricket played in the USA. There are 10,000 players (more registered players than in Zimbabwe, for example) in 40 leagues in about half the states in the union. There are big leagues around Los Angeles (three divisions), San Francisco, Houston, Miami, New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC. Granted, there are only about 100 native-born players, but cricket is here and almost thriving. You may want to sit down for this, Fish, but there is a rapidly growing cricket league (http://www.nwcl.org) in the Seattle area. The link I've provided has a list of teams and schedules in case you want to check it out.

As for video games, I highly recommend International Cricket Captain ("http://www.sports-gaming.com/other/icc/review.shtml). It's a management game, but a much better game IMHO than the zillions of soccer management games out there. If you want a game where you actually play cricket, I'd suggest Brian Lara Cricket or EA Sports Cricket (yeah, it really exists).

Laughing Lagomorph
06-28-2003, 04:27 PM
In my experience British men who have the slightest interest in sports and come to live in the US, or at least those parts of it where baseball is popular, are very prone to becoming baseball fans. I can think of three guys I know off the top of my head who became fans after attending their first professional game. Something about the similarity of the game to rounders, combined with the high level of play, the usually warm weather, the beer.

06-28-2003, 05:19 PM
Canadian... I enjoy Rugby, and used to play it when I was younger and more foolish. I especially enjoy watching the Rugby World Cup (or whatever it's called). I went to a New Zealand vs. Scotland game a few years ago that was just an amazing sporting event. I'm also a fan of Australian Rules Football, but you rarely see it on TV here.
Despite being a big baseball fan, I just can't watch cricket... I find it to be as dull as dishwater.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
06-28-2003, 06:53 PM
I think cricket used to be a bit more common in the U.S. than it is now. In a 1914 novel P.G. Wodehouse refers to a character being sent with a team from the M.C.C. to tour "the cricket playing section" of the United States.

Really Not All That Bright
06-28-2003, 09:53 PM
I would agree with laughing lagomorph- Brits are apt to become baseball fans when transplanted here, BUT if you couldn't handle watching a whole test match you wouldn't be able to watch 9 innings either... I know I can't.

Incidentally, World Cup Cricket on the Super Nintendo was a million seller, although rugby equivalents have never done well. I'd also add that NBA Jam was probably the most popular sports game in Britain at the time of original release.

Out of all American sports I've taken to (American) football best- I was always a rugby man and even though I still think the headgear and pads are laughable (especially having played rugby as a 5'4" and skinny as a rail winger against fellas twice my weight) but its good to watch, once you get used to the stop-start action and the focus on anything but actual on-field movement.

IMHO, assoc(cer)iation football will be the biggest sport in America in 30 years or so- I saw a group of my best friends debating the Beckham to Real Madrid sale the other day and my jaw dropped.

06-28-2003, 10:06 PM
Originally posted by MC Master of Ceremonies
Basketball is the most popular indoor sport in the world (an in the UK too where a few years ago it replaced Badminton) and the only American Sport that has travelled well.
BASEBALL hasn't travelled well? I am sure that comes as a great surprise to the Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, and the rest of the Western hemisphere.

06-28-2003, 10:16 PM
Originally posted by Laughing Lagomorph
In my experience British men who have the slightest interest in sports and come to live in the US, or at least those parts of it where baseball is popular, are very prone to becoming baseball fans. Yup. Transplanted Brit here and I'm a big fan of baseball. I can't get into any of the other American sports, though. I like the strategy, the one-on-one duel between pitcher and hitter, and the traditions. In that sense, I would liken it to cricket - actually, more like cricket played at a furious pace.

And I know that there is quite a bit of cricket played in the Atlanta region - Indian/Pakistani/Caribbean players, mostly.

06-28-2003, 11:43 PM
Count me as an American who loves soccer. I would trade Baseball for a popular and viable soccer league in a second. Don't get me wrong, the MSL has made fantastic strides since it's first season, and I watch ESPN2 soccer saturday religously(though would it kill them to show one game that doesn't involve the metrostars), but if we had a league on par with something like the premiership, I would be in heaven. hell, I just wish I got fox sports world.

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