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  #51  
Old 08-30-2019, 04:27 AM
Sangahyando is offline
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Sorry about my couple of days' absence; and thanks for the continuing assortment of information.

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Originally Posted by Knowed Out View Post
OP, I read about a sport you play over there called Quidditch. You like riding brooms around and throwing Quaffles?
I have a theory -- which I gather is to some extent borne out by things J.K. Rowling has stated -- that JKR is, like myself, the reverse of a sports fan; she tends to find wearisome, the sheer hard-to-ignore volume of those who love sports' going-on about same. Her invention of the wizards' game Quidditch, can be seen as gentle mockery of conventional sports and the way huge numbers of people are perceivedly obsessed with them. Quidditch is a patently insane sport which just plain doesn't actually work; but which nevertheless has, in Wizarding-World terms, a very large number of impassioned devotees, many of whom have an encyclopedic knowledge of the game's minutiae, and never shut up about same.

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Originally Posted by Slow Moving Vehicle View Post
Indeed, two of the greatest home run hitters in the history of the game were Southerners - Babe Ruth (from Maryland, culturally the South), and Henry Aaron, from Alabama.

Incidentally, Sangahyando, the history of baseball owes quite a bit to one of your lot: an expat English sportswriter named Henry Chadwick. He started covering baseball for the New York Times, as an outgrowth of his coverage of cricket (which was a popular sport in the US in the mid-19th century). Got hooked by the game, and subsequently promoted and refined it - it was he who managed to change the rule so that a ball caught in the air was an out - previously, a ball caught on one bound also counted. He published the first baseball guide, and was the first to list runs, home runs, strikeouts and outs. He devised the box score, and is credited with creating the earned run average and hitting average. He is sometimes called "the Father of Baseball". Arguable, but he had much more claim to the title than Abner Doubleday.
Most interesting about Chadwick -- a new figure to me -- thank you. It's always struck me that baseball resembles cricket, more than any other sport in the world of which I'm aware: "cross-fertilization" between the sports via Chadwick, which you describe, is of much interest. Cricket's 19th-century popularity in the US, initially surprised me (we tend to think that it's too crazy a game to appeal to anyone other than the English !); but there popped up in my memory, a passing reference in George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman and the Redskins: Flashy mentions that one of the "supporting cast" in Custer's disastrous 1876 campaign (Benteen?) was a cricket fan.

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Originally Posted by Andy L View Post
Turtledove doesn't attribute the absence of baseball to Doubleday's absence in the Southern Victory books - in the book no one knows about alternate universes, so no one can be wondering about the effect of the death of a minor figure on a minor sport.
Very true -- that was just me wondering re Doubleday (assuming his actually playing his attributed role in "our time-line"), from my point of view outside the SV universe. (Memo to self -- get out more ?)

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Per this Turtledove fan site https://turtledove.fandom.com/wiki/Abner_Doubleday Doubleday is mentioned in a Turtledove story, but not in the Southern Victory series.
Thanks re this -- a Turtledove "short" that I hadn't come across. (I gather that Harry is a keen in-real-life baseball fan.) Further "Turtledovery" -- with assorted instances offered in this thread, of baseball luminaries who were from the South; I recalled that in the Worldwar series: the captain of Yeager's baseball team (whose name escapes me at present -- he's also an old soldier, who comes to fight from start to finish in the war against the invading Lizards) is from a Deep South state.
  #52  
Old 08-30-2019, 06:47 AM
Andy L is offline
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Yeah, Turtledove is s big baseball fan. One of his early stories "The Rosd not Taken features characters all named for a particular team's lineup (I forget which team).
  #53  
Old 08-30-2019, 07:11 AM
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I've read, and liked, The Road Not Taken; but being neither American nor a sports fan, I've been oblivious to the baseball connection !
  #54  
Old 08-30-2019, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
I've read, and liked, The Road Not Taken; but being neither American nor a sports fan, I've been oblivious to the baseball connection !
I didn't notice either - but I remember someone in the Analog letter column commenting about it. Here's an analysis someone wrote: https://turtledove.fandom.com/wiki/O...haracter_Names

"The crew of the Ares III have a connection to the New York Giants"

"The United States Army platoon that the POV Billy Cox served in has a connection to the Brooklyn Dodgers/Los Angeles Dodgers"

"The two researchers also have a connection to the Brooklyn Dodgers"
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:11 AM
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Thanks again. I take it that the alien invaders, the Roxolani, are not included -- one assumes that they don't have baseball on their home-world . Though I recall that in Worldwar, Harry has instances of "Lizard" aliens -- POWs and / or voluntary dwellers in human territory -- playing baseball, to which they seem naturally well-suited.
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
(snip)

Most interesting about Chadwick -- a new figure to me -- thank you. It's always struck me that baseball resembles cricket, more than any other sport in the world of which I'm aware: "cross-fertilization" between the sports via Chadwick, which you describe, is of much interest. Cricket's 19th-century popularity in the US, initially surprised me (we tend to think that it's too crazy a game to appeal to anyone other than the English !); but there popped up in my memory, a passing reference in George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman and the Redskins: Flashy mentions that one of the "supporting cast" in Custer's disastrous 1876 campaign (Benteen?) was a cricket fan.
Yes. Hard to believe, but the first cricket international match was between the U.S. and Canada, in 1844. The first English eleven to make an international tour came to North America in 1859.

Years ago, I worked with a man who had played high-level amateur (and possibly pro, if memory serves) cricket in Barbados. One night while cleaning up, he explained the game to me. I came away thinking that the only fundamental, important difference between baseball and cricket was which aspect of the game dominated: batting in cricket, pitching in baseball. Otherwise, the sports are essentially identical, in all but superficial ways. For example, like cricket fielders, baseball fielders are permitted to place themselves anywhere on the field they choose (with the exception of the pitcher and the catcher). A century and a half of experience has shown that the general placement of fielders - a man on each base, a shortstop between second and third, and an outfielder in each field - is the most effective defense, but there's no rule saying the players must take those positions. And even in a game, you'll see the infielders line up in different spots, depending on the batter.

Cricket has spin bowlers, who rely on making the ball move in a deceptive manner, and fast bowlers, who overwhelm with speed; in baseball, this is the difference between "control" and "power" pitchers.

In cricket, a ball hit over the boundary is an automatic six runs; in baseball, a ball hit over the fence is automatically one to four runs, depending on the number of batters on base.

According to my friend, the two sports even have a similar pitching/bowling strategy; one ball aimed high and close to the batter/batsman, to shake him up, then the next lower and farther away (in baseball, called "high and tight, then low and away".)

As I said, the only fundamental difference I could see was that baseball is weighted to pitching, whereas cricket is weighted to batting.The fact that in cricket, a leg before wicket results in dismissal of the batsman, where the result of the baseball equivalent, a hit batsman, is a free base, I think demonstrates this difference. I suspect the dominance of pitching in baseball derives from the fact that a round bat hitting a round ball has a much smaller "sweet spot", that will result in a hit, compared to a flat, rectangular bat that has three faces with which to hit the ball*. Cue the argument about which is harder, hitting in cricket or hitting in baseball.

TL;DR, after listening to my Barbadian friend's explanation, I was able on a subsequent visit to New Zealand to watch and understand a match between the Black Hats and Pakistan, based both on his exegesis and my own knowledge of baseball. Of course, this was twenty or so years ago, and I'm sure I've misremembered or misunderstood things. This being the SDMB, a cricket or baseball expert will be along directly, to correct anything I've gotten wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanghayando
Very true -- that was just me wondering re Doubleday (assuming his actually playing his attributed role in "our time-line"), from my point of view outside the SV universe. (Memo to self -- get out more ?)
Albert Spalding, the sporting goods merchant and former pitcher, who organized the National League and chaired a commission investigating the history of baseball, essentially made up the story of Abner Doubleday having invented the game. There's no evidence that he had anything whatsoever to do with the foundation of the sport.

*Lest anyone think I'm biased, being an American, I'll say that fielding is a lot harder in cricket, where players make acrobatic catches without big leather gloves, which impresses me no end.

Last edited by Slow Moving Vehicle; 08-30-2019 at 10:32 PM.
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