Any Countries That Play Both Cricket and Baseball?

Looking at the World Cup Tournament, I was thinking that baseball and cricket tend to be an either/or proposition.

Granted, somebody in the United States plays cricket. But I wouldn’t say the US ‘has’ cricket.

Does Canada? They have a team in the world cup - is it really a sport Joe Canuck follows?

I was thinking, maybe, too, some Caribbean nation - lots of islands (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba) are big baseball havens - and some others are big into cricket (St. Kitts and Nevis?, and several band together to field “the Windies”). Is there much overlap?

I was listening to something on the CBC about this yesterday. I think that only 3 players on the Canadian cricket team were born in Canada. The rest are immigrants, mainly from south Asia.

The Netherlands and Australia have both featured in both the World Cup and the World Baseball Classic. Obviously cricket is a major sport only in Australia, and baseball is a minor sport in both countries, really.

I’ve played cricket in Canada. It’s a completely South Asian and West Indian immigrant-driven sport there, at least where I played in Ontario. I heard that some decades ago more English-born or descendants played, but I only met one of them who was still interested. That’s pretty much the same experience I had in Los Angeles. I’d say the average Canadian would be surprised to hear that Canada had a team in the World Cup, even though the Toronto papers are carrying articles about the team.

It seems that there really is very little overlap between baseball and cricket. That’s really evident in the Caribbean and South America, where the countries are very divided between cricket-playing nations (Jamaica, Barbados, T&T, Guyana, etc.) and baseball-playing nations (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama, Dominican Republic, etc.)

List of German baseball teams

List of German cricket teams

A German efriend got into “American baseball” and insisted on seeing a Yankees game on her last visit.

Australia - that’s maybe the best counter-example so far. And that made me google New Zealand Baseball, which tells me some kid from there has a tryout with the Red Sox, and has (had) a minor league contract.

Still, the sports seem to not have much overlap. The Caribbean seems to be a ‘were you colonized by the English/Dutch or Spain?’ divide, which is odd. Neither sport has Spanish roots.

Australia seems like the best answer; at least they’ve had some players make it to the major leagues, though from that list it looks like their greatest-ever player is probably Craig Shipley.

That listing seems to have an inordinately high proportion of pitchers, 65%.

Is that a usual offshore recruiting mix? I can’t see any inherent reason why Aussie kids would be more at MLB standards for throwing a ball rather than hitting a ball.

Yeah, strikes me a little strangely, too. I note that many (though certainly not all) of the Asians who have made it to MLB have been pitchers, as well. I have no idea if there’s a connection.

This is my take on it:

Hitting a ball with a round bat traveling towards you at 90 mph from less than 60 feet away is not easy and requires continual practice and conditioning since it is very much a muscle memory and reflex reaction thing. If you’re not brought up in a culture where you can play the sport continuously against good pitchers, it is very difficult to develop into a major-league quality hitter.

Throwing a ball 90 mph to a target 60 feet away with the accuracy required isn’t particularly easy, but is mainly just physical talent and coaching. Anyone who has the talent to throw the ball fast enough can be taught how to pitch well. While it requires practice, there’s little physical benefit gained by throwing to live batters as opposed to working with a coach. While you won’t learn to bat very well just taking cuts off of the grapefruits you might get thrown for you in batting practice, you can practice your pitch placement and pitch a simulated game without even a batter standing there (although one definitely helps). Thus you can develop as a pitcher without even playing the game.

Australia has a national baseball league where each major city has a team. I don’t know if they are professionals or not. Australia also sends a number of players to the pro leagues in Japan.

Dave Nilsson was the best player out of Australia.

The Dutch baseball team did surprisingly well in international competition, which surprised me… until I found that most of the “Dutch” players were actually from Dutch colonies like Curacao, Bonair and Aruba. Those islands, like neighboring Venezuela, have long been baseball territory.

I would suspect that the same physical talents that make a good cricket batsman would lend them to being good baseball hitters and vice versa. The reaction times, speeds and distances are pretty much the same.
I suspect you could take the best cricket batsmen and put them in front of the best baseball pitchers and they would stand a good chance of putting bat to ball.
I’m not sure the same could be said of baseball batters as spin and bounce would be totally alien to them.
Of course had they both grown up experiencing either game exclusively I’m sure they’d cope just fine.
As for pitching? Well baseball pitching and cricket bowling are chalk and cheese. Very different beasts indeed. Having a “fast arm” is irrelevant in cricket bowling as it must remain straight throughout the delivery.

All that is good reasoning; however, we are left with the empirical evidence that more pitchers get brought from ‘marginal baseball territory’ to the major leagues (at least in the US) than non-pitchers.

Remembering that pitchers are ‘over-represented’ on a squad anyway (say, 10 of the 25 person squad, or 40%), there’s still a discrepancy.

It’s a good point a pitcher can pitch a simulated game without anybody else. And outside of catching and maybe 2nd/short, the other positions are not a huge learning curve. The ability to hit with a baseball bat is clearly the limiting factor.

I’ve picked up a cricket bat once in my life, and tried to hit bowled ‘cricket’ balls (actually a tennis ball covered with duct tape) for about half an hour. I whiffed each time. I never got the bat out far enough. Maybe going the other direction (fat short cricket bat to long thin baseball bat) is just as difficult.

I think it may be it is less of a learning curve going from cricket batsman to baseball batter than vice-versa. I could be wrong though (I’m no good at either sport)

Strangely I think you may see the better cricket fielders being the sort of players making the transition to pitcher.

That’s my take, as well. I remember when he came up with the Brewers, hopes were very high for him. He had a respectable career in MLB, though I don’t think he necessarily played up to the level which was hoped for him.

Excellent point. Also, my perception (which may not be reflected by reality) is that pitchers are more likely to get injured than position players. If that’s so, then teams are even more likely to be looking for more pitching prospects, since they know that they’re going to go through more of them.

So I clicked through to each player’s wikipedia page to check one hunch, and of the 17 pitchers listed, 7 were left-handed (42%), a bit higher than the 27% (per yahoo answers, so buyer beware, but that sounds about right) for the major leagues as a whole. Still, that’s only 2 1/2 more lefties than you’d expect; I thought the effect would be stronger.

22 came from the Netherlands.

9 of those 22 are/were pitchers, which is very close to the expected percentage - but then, they didn’t grow up in a country with a strong cricket tradition.

At least two - Blyleven and Remmerswaal - really grew up in the US (don’t know about the 1800’s guys). Calling them Dutch is like saying Rod Langway is Taiwanese. Neither adds to the argument that the Netherlands is ‘a baseball country.’

And 14 of them (including Andruw Jones) are from the Dutch Antilles, which, fairly or unfairly, I see as not the Netherlands. But if Puerto Rico, the USVI, or Hawaii had a strong cricket culture I might be singing a different tune, because I’d be tempted to say the US had a real cricket presence.

Indeed, and almost all of them have played in the last 20 years. It points far more to MLB bringing in more players from the Caribbean (and, possibly, the growth of the game in the Dutch Antilles) than it does kids playing baseball in Amsterdam. :slight_smile: