Hi Hate US

Good evening from the East Coast. It’s nearly midnight, I’ve just watched Game 2 of the NBA Finals, we’ve seen the uselessness of the weather forecasters who predicted something nigh on the apocalypse for us and it didn’t hit here, and I’m off to the beach tomorrow. Send help. I need the ECB to piss me off.

P1070170

Cricket? It really is easy to lose touch when you are away. When I was in the States last year it coincided with the May madness. The KP 355, the trust, the Moores sacking, the Barbados farce, the Strauss appointment, the Harrison appearance. It’s just a ton quieter this year. Sean is doing his thing, and doing it well. Chris is in a faraway land, doing faraway things. And me? I’ve seen three minor league baseball games. Well two actually. We paid for the third and got conned a little (watched the grounds crew work for 2 hours having been told that play would start in an hour when we bought tickets – then they postponed the game. So not just cricket that takes the michael). I am not going to Philadelphia to see the Cubs on Wednesday, but if I wanted to watch it, that would be easy. So it would be if I wanted to watch my Red Sox in San Francisco if that was the thing to do. Because, if you want to see any game, there generally is a way to do so (if you have money).

Was there a way I could legally watch any of the T20 games from the UK here? Not that I know of. Hell, I couldn’t even get to see The Derby yesterday. This is a modern world where we are constantly told by those selling rights that the “youth consume things differently to us” and yet when we try these so called “youthful consumption” we find massive obstacles.

The thing is that the customer experience, to which Sean so eloquently commented upon in his last piece, is something we really don’t have a clue about. I went to see the Lakewood Blue Claws on Thursday night. It was a miserable night (2% chance of rain they said) and I couldn’t do what I love at these games (which is take pictures). Instead I paid $10 for a general admission seat (on a grass bank over right field) and got our souvenir garden gnome (which was part of the reason for selecting this game) which was free to the first 1500 inside the stadium. There were a lot of people there for the gnome.

Once inside the ballpark, there was a promotional night on where it was $1 beer (called Thirsty Thursday). Now the beers you could drink were either Coors or Coors Light, so let’s face it, that is some overpriced shit even at those levels. The serving was around half a pint for a $ but the bar area was rammed, there was live music, tables and chairs/stools to watch the game, and cheap chicken wings as well. Also all soda drinks were a dollar, and some of the spirits were cheap too. If that wasn’t your thing, you could get craft beers / local brews at various stalls around the park. The food was a bit pricey at normal outlets, but not Wembley standards of crapness, and not Oval standards of expense for plain stuff. Lakewood missed out on the souvenir cup (I’ve a few of them at home – sucker for that stuff). In gaps in play there was all sorts of nonsense going on (at Wilmington on Wednesday that actually meant my ugly mug was, for about two seconds, on the big screen). As I put in the comment on Sean’s piece, it was really noticeable how many kids were there. This is crucial, because you need to get the balance with the drinking community and those families who want to enjoy the game without nonsense. This is managed really well in the US, in my view. There are alcohol free areas, whole large swathes of the park are set aside, and kids have other activities to keep them interested when the play gets a little slow.

P1070277

Parking at all three parks is economical, which isn’t true for the big leagues (got stung for $40 at Yankee Stadium in 2011 and some are even higher) and we got there so early for Lakewood that we didn’t pay anything. We didn’t pay a dime at Delmarva but that was because we entered the carpark in a torrential downpour and the attendants had vanished. The Wilmington car park was free – possibly because it is in the part of town where they are trying to encourage people to go to for an evening’s entertainment although getting to the ballpark from the I-95 that runs next to it takes you through a “very interesting” part of town.

These teams are the fourth or fifth level squads of major league clubs. There is a great enthusiasm for local communities who don’t want to splash out the big money to see a major league team often two or so hours drive away (and much further when you get away from the Eastern Coast) but can get to see some players on the rise, or on a rehab assignment after injury (I’ve been to Lakewood three times, and the first time had the largest crowd because one of Philadelphia’s top pitchers was playing a game back after injury). These teams are pulling 5 or 6 thousand spectators on a weekday night. It isn’t top ranking baseball, but I wonder how it compares to the Royal London Cup today? Remember also, there are around 65 home games for these teams.

I realise this isn’t cricket talk, but it does give you food for thought. A lot of the stuff that goes around the game is “Americana” and wouldn’t work here, but you have to see what works and what doesn’t. Cricket has one innings break, while baseball has 16 or 17, including a longer one for the seventh innings, and there is less time to fill. But some of the best I’ve seen include the President’s race at Washington, some far out nonsense at Vermont that included someone being chased down by a llama, and the dreaded “Kiss-Cam”. But it’s fun and yet somehow not forced. The aim is for a relaxing “spectator experience” where the game and the community mesh together – not an ordeal. There’s plenty of legroom (my beef with the Oval, in particular) and drinks holders on the seats. The walkways are spacious, the lines to get served are rarely long. Even at a packed Yankee Stadium in 2011, there was a sense of plenty of space.

So, I’ll hopefully be back for some more in the week but it has been nice. I’ve not bothered with those who have bothered me. I’ve read your comments with the usual mix of amusement, enthusiasm, some indignation and thankfulness that the community keeps going even when I’m not around as much as I should be. I did read that Mail article in response to KP’s list of favourite grounds, and it just shows, doesn’t it? For the hundredth time, who is obsessed again? I see Jason Roy hit a century on Friday in the T20, but Surrey are struggling in all the other formats. I do believe we have a Lord’s Test this week. How peachy that this one wasn’t in May this year, but in early June. I noted that West Indies beat South Africa but were then skittled out for shirt buttons by Australia.

Finally, I have a book called Baseball Prospectus. It comes out every year, before the start of the season, and has in-depth statistical analysis and commentary by stat-heads and fans on each team and their players. It is a truly amazing piece of work. I nabbed a copy of 2015’s cheap, and once I saw it, I ordered 2016’s book. I weep that cricket (and even football) can’t put together something like this in the UK. The NFL has a similar book, and yes, I know that the youth consume their reading material differently to how we used to, but this is a forward-looking annual, not a backward one like Wisden (which has its place – I get the backward looking baseball ones as cheap as I can too). The sheer love, and quality, of the writing, the care they take (spotted one error so far in the 2015 book) and the exuberance is amazing. Enthusiasm can be contagious. Debate can be welcome. And the love of the sport is paramount, even with all that money. It’s a handy old message.

Speak soon.

Dmitri

Cape May

Good night…..

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “Hi Hate US

  1. Julie June 6, 2016 / 6:14 am

    Holidays are for doing what YOU want so just enjoy yourself. Glad the weather missed you . We, in Eastern OZ have been having a bad time. No tornados though. Thank goodness we don’t get them. Just be happy, Dmitri .Will look forward to you when the cricket feeling comes back. {I hope}

    Like

  2. Adrian S June 6, 2016 / 6:21 am

    The Mail article about KP you say shows who is obsessed is written by Piers Morgan’s son.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus June 6, 2016 / 7:00 am

      And published in the Daily Mail. Is it not?

      Or have I missed your point, again?

      Of all that I wrote in that piece you pick up on that. AGAIN. Ha ha. Oui. Tres bien.

      Like

    • Mark June 6, 2016 / 9:08 am

      There is nothing in that article that says the author is the son of Piers Morgan. If I was a Mail reader, (which I most certainly am not) and came across that piece I wouldn’t have a clue it was written by Morgan’s son…….

      But hey, Maybe I’m not as obsessed by the Morgan family, and KP as others who make wild accusations about the motives of others. And you would have to be quite obsessed to know that this was his son. This will no doubt come as a great shock to a certain group of people who think we follow and support every move Morgan makes..I have not the foggiest who his sons are.

      Still, it’s quite nice, and rather rare to see the words “KP” and “England legend” in the same sentence in that newspaper. Newman must have gone on holiday?

      Like

      • Adrian S June 6, 2016 / 1:45 pm

        Mark, Piers Morgan has 3 sons who he regularly talks about and to on Twitter, one is called Spencer, on Spencer’s Twitter biography it says he works for Mail Sport, it didn’t take Inspector clouseau just someone who can read to work out the Spencer Morgan whose name is on the story is Piers Morgan’s son, not surprising he calls KP an England legend is it?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus June 6, 2016 / 2:25 pm

          Bit of a problem if you don’t follow Piers Morgan on Twitter. I don’t.

          Like

      • Mark June 6, 2016 / 2:39 pm

        I didn’t know Morgan has 3 sons. Why would I? I don’t have a Twitter account, and so I don’t follow him. I’m not really interested in him. So I’m hardly likely to have read his sons Twitter biography am I?

        I realise this must come as a great shock because we are accused of being nothing more than Morgan’s sock puppets, and slavishly rehashing everything he says. Do you not think KP is an England legend then?

        Like

  3. sgtcookieblog June 6, 2016 / 8:20 am

    Interesting stuff, thanks Dmitri. I considered taking the family to a Red Sox game in 2010 when we were over that way but decided the money was better spent in getting us through the last week of the holiday and the flight home. Suddenly remembered my love of Ted Danson and found a cheaper evening’s entertainment (if my companions could call my cash saving bragging in the ‘Cheers’ bar entertainment…)

    Like

  4. Rooto June 6, 2016 / 8:26 am

    It occurs to me that the “young generation consumes differently” excuse is just self-serving BS. My kids are still pre-teens, just the age you need to get their attention, and they are the only ones in the house who still watch TV. The bloody thing doesn’t even work properly and they still sit in front of it! Once they’re old enough to have their own phones and tablets, then it’s already too late to get their attention. TV still matters if you want to spread the word.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark June 6, 2016 / 9:28 am

      I agree with you Rooto. The “young generation consumes differently” is, I think a put down to the old Telegraph readers who don’t subscibe to Murdochs Sky, and complain they can’t watch any cricket.

      I don’t think there is any plan or notion of how to connect with these young people to promote cricket. I doubt very much they are watching test cricket on their phones. And seeing how the ECB police and remove even the most brief highlights on the Internet, It’s just another way of saying “shut up, and pay Sky the £600 a year.”

      Like

  5. SimonH June 6, 2016 / 9:03 am

    I’ve just realised that I watched a grand total of one session’s play in May (the morning of the last day in the Second Test). When I did watch, it was very strange. I felt like I was watching a group of people talking about something I didn’t quite understand anymore. I like T20 but can’t get into the IPL; don’t want to watch one-sided massacres in Tests; have no affection left for county cricket. I’m getting quite used to life without any cricket on (and I’m the sort of cricket tragic who watched every game in the 2007 WC)..

    This weekend just gone there was no international cricket on in England. The only major sporting competition was from the tennis in Paris (which I ended up watching). There’s a meaningless tri-lateral in the West Indies which seems to be being played on some awful pitches and the games have looked to be over before I’ve realised they’ve started. Next weekend there’s a dead rubber Test while the European Championships start and there are rugby Tests Down Under. Good luck getting some traction with that one, ECB.

    I’ll watch the start of the Pakistan series but don’t feel too hopeful that Pakistan, with their chronic lack of recent experience at any level outside Asia, will put up much of a contest. The tours by India and Australia in July to West Indies and Sri Lanka might produce some decent cricket if away status can off-set the advantages of the Big Three. I might try to get into the CPL. But, at the moment, NZ’s tour of SA is the only cricket I could say I’m actively looking forward to.

    In terms of going to some live cricket, I live in mid Wales and it would involve considerable travel. The nearest three grounds are all D2 and the standard doesn’t grab me. Going to my ‘home’ team Hampshire is an expensive, soulless experience. Last time I went two years ago, it was £20 for a ticket and £7 for parking (which with the ground’s location is unavoidable). There was no working PA system. There were no food outlets open outside the pavilion. It was in the upper twenties weatherwise but there was no ice cream van. The ground is like an out-of-town shopping centre or multiplex cinema for its lack of soul. Pitches are mostly turgid and the plastic seats hurt my dodgy lower back. Hampshire’s biggest name is unlikely to play much this season. Apart from some desire to see Mason Crane, I don’t feel much pulling me there.

    So, the football (and a bit of rugby) it is, then.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark June 6, 2016 / 9:50 am

      Me too Simon. When England beat India in 2014, and the media went insane, and announced that we all had to fall in line and get behind Cook, and that failure to back Cook would now be classed as treason, I have watched very little test cricket. Last years ashes was the least home Ashes cricket I have watched for 45 years. I watch more golf than I do cricket now.

      The hyping of dross has become a feature of the modern world. Everything has to be the “greatest ever.” It’s nauseating. Before TV rights became so valuable television companies could cover sport with a bit of detachment. They could cover the event, and not feel the need to become part of the promotion team. Now they are so frightened of losing the contract they feel duty bound to act as cheer leaders. And the evidence is growing that broadcasters are expected to be cheerleaders by removing anyone who says anything critical.

      As to this weeks test match, how can you say it’s a dead rubber? Don’t you realise we are only 8-0 up, and Sri Lanka might pull it back to 8-4 going into the one dryers? I can barely contain myself. By the time the European championships have been completed, and Wimbledon has been and gone the count down to the Premiership will be in full swing.

      Like

      • GeneralZod June 6, 2016 / 9:59 am

        Maybe you should both just check in to Dignitas before the modern world gets any worse for you?

        Like

    • Benny June 6, 2016 / 12:05 pm

      I like to have cricket live on the telly but more as a background thing. I can’t sit and watch for hours. Must confess I’m finally in no hurry to go off to watch at a ground, although if it was round the corner, I probably would.

      Simon’s comments about the Hampshire ground match so well with what Sean was saying about customer experience. How do you get crowds in? Make it enjoyable! Simple. How do you learn what the people enjoy/dislike? Ask them

      Like

    • Josh June 6, 2016 / 9:00 pm

      Not much changed at the Ageas. £21 for a ticket yesterday ( 16 if bought in advance). £8 to par your car, Second string attack with all the injuries. Crowd of no more than 2,000 on a gorgeous day. Its 26 quid to watch a T20. Shame the club doesn’t wish to pack out the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH June 6, 2016 / 10:16 pm

        Thanks, Josh. Did you go to any of Hampshire’s old grounds?

        I miss cricket at the USG Portsmouth. One of the fast matches I saw was Hants/Derby in the early 80s: Greenidge (who made a century) and Marshall for Hants; John Wright, Peter Kirsten and Mike Hendrick for Derby; fast pitch; good view; venue accessible by car or train.

        Happy days!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. AB June 6, 2016 / 10:50 am

    I’ve noticed that many media outlets, the guardian for one, have completed abandoned all coverage of the T20 blast. No articles, no scores, nothing. This despite it having just come off a record breaking year and looking set for another huge jump forward in popularity. Plenty of articles about every possible opinion on the Sri Lanka series and, bizarrely, the championship, but nothing on the competition that the majority of the country might actually be interested in.

    Why is this? Have the ECB asked the newspapers to withdraw all coverage to try and kill off domestic cricket once and for all?

    Like

    • Mark June 6, 2016 / 11:06 am

      Didn’t the head of the ECB attack the big blast a few weeks ago? You can rely on The Guardian to do what their masters tell them. “It’s the Internet we want.”

      Like

    • pktroll (@pktroll) June 6, 2016 / 11:18 am

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/county-cricket-2016/content/story/1023419.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

      A couple of the bigger name overseas players have their say.over the format and I can see their point. What the blast does have to it’s advantage is that it doesn’t saturate coverage in the way the IPL does for instance, where every single game of that tournament is televised and to be honest I get bored of it. The pertinent point is that the large number of fixtures (133) mean that the tournament stretches out over quite a stretch. The counties wouldn’t of course want a reduction as it would of course be a serious loss of income.

      The other obvious downside is that televised coverage is behind the paywall and therefore only a relatively small part of the population will get to watch it on the tv. That is an ECB issue, as previous posts on here will have pointed out.

      Like

      • AB June 6, 2016 / 11:22 am

        I don’t really see their “point” at all. Its just pure greed and laziness. I’m sure plenty of premiership footballers would like the season compressed into a few months so that they could have 8 months holiday, but its not up to them, is it. Its up to the spectators.

        The moment the players start paying the spectators to watch them, then we will listen to what fits in with their schedule. Until then, the schedule should fit around when people want to go and watch the games and the players can either suck it or fuck off.

        Cricket is the only spectator sport in the world where the spectators are seen as an unnecessary annoyance.

        Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) June 6, 2016 / 11:49 am

        These are overseas professionals who get offers to go to other countries tournaments that are played at a similar time (cf the CPL that starts next month). Therefore they are going to go another country’s league and play the whole tournament and likely earn more money. They are professionals after all. They also get to play in a whole load of tournaments around the world so they are hardly “lazy”.

        This might not affect the ordinary county pro but it may well affect the overseas pro’s decision in whether to come to England or not. It seems that the blast gets a fair few players who come for a spell of a few games (Dale Steyn is here for a few games), but barely gets players to come for a whole season as they can go and gain more money for a whole tournament elsewhere.

        It is good that the blast is getting decent crowds, but the overall exposure will be better for having better players playing more of the games.

        Like

      • AB June 6, 2016 / 12:45 pm

        It really doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the average man in the street whether or not Darren Sammy turns up, because the average man in the street thinks Darren Sammy was the name of the baddy from “Live and Let Die”. He can piss off to the CPL, whilst it is still solvent, and it won’t make the slightest dent in the attendance figures of the Natwest Blast.

        Like

    • Zephirine June 6, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Noticeable that the initiative and the money mentioned in the article came from Sport England and not the ECB.

      Like

  7. SimonH June 7, 2016 / 10:53 am

    McCullum’s Cowdrey lecture criticising the ACU and the leaking of his evidence to the Daily Mail is covered this morning by the DT, Guardian and Cricinfo among others. It’s also available on Youtube.

    One paper not covering it though….

    Like

    • d'Arthez June 7, 2016 / 1:38 pm

      Well, what credibility does the ACU have when corruption is happily approved by the people they report to?

      Like

    • Mark June 7, 2016 / 3:09 pm

      Thanks for putting that up Simon. Just watched the speech. I liked his story about Colin Cowdry playing in the back garden of his friends house with a journalist from the telegraph bowling at a seven year old kid for an hour.

      McCullum….”Can’t see that happening today, A 7 year old boy would be far too good for most of the cricket writers I know.” Get in!

      His story about Jeff Thompson telling Cowdry “That’s not going to help you fatso, now piss off” got a good laugh. But he is rightly unhappy about the leaking of his evidence to the Mail. And rightly so. How can you get players to come forward if they get treated like that?

      Like

  8. SimonH June 8, 2016 / 8:16 am

    Enjoyable ODI in Guyana last night. The sparse crowd was off-putting at first but sticking with the match brought some rewards. I’m not against ODIs on bowler-friendly wickets sometimes (although this series has been overdoing it) and it was a game won by an old pro’s knock by Behardien (a very underrated cricketer now) while Australia’s batsmen once again looked callow when the ball moves off the straight.

    It’s always fun to discover a new bowler and left-arm wrist-spinners aren’t exactly something you see every day. Shamsi combined the method of Brad Hogg with the enthusiasm of Tahir (without it seeming seeming rehearsed…… yet). His figures may not look that outstanding but he turned it considerably, kept the pressure on and had precious little fortune (Finch should twice have been given LBW and numerous miscues landed safe – although, to be fair, his wicket was also a shocker of an LBW against Maxwell from an umpire trying to even-out one of the Finch decisions). He certainly out-bowled Zampa.

    The match was played without Snicko or Hotspot and again showed the need for these to be provided by the ICC. Australia lost their review when Smith appealed his LBW and the visual evidence showed a possible inside edge but not with enough certainty to overrule the on-field decision. That left Maxwell unable to appeal an LBW that would have hit the outside of a fourth stump.

    Like

    • SimonH June 8, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      Won the Ashes away without being given a single LBW decision by the home umpires. Beat a side that , while not Australia’s greatest ever, included the Chappells, Walters, Marsh, Stackpole and a young Dennis Lillee. Managed two notoriously difficult sods in Boycott and Snow. Won the last Test with his best bowler of injured with a broken hand. Overall, has the best W/L ratio of any England cricketer to play over fifty times.

      Still, not mentally tough enough for Nasser Hussain. Could he have coped with being called a “weasel” on Twitter by Piers Morgan? Of course not….

      Such a pity those two years as ‘supremo’ are all too many people remember of what he achieved.

      (Trivia question: Tony Dell played for Australia in that ’70/71 series. What unique record does he hold among Test cricketers?)

      Like

      • man in a barrel June 8, 2016 / 3:32 pm

        It was something to do with batting, wasn’t it? He batted twice and got exactly the same score each time?

        Like

      • Grenville June 8, 2016 / 3:45 pm

        An impressive CV. I didn’t know much of that. My already high esteem for the man went up a notch or two.

        Like

      • SimonH June 8, 2016 / 5:55 pm

        MIAB, it’s not a batting feat.

        Like

      • d'Arthez June 8, 2016 / 11:26 pm

        Only Vietnam vet to play international cricket?

        Like

      • SimonH June 9, 2016 / 7:12 am

        D, that’s the one!

        Like

    • Zephirine June 8, 2016 / 6:23 pm

      That’s a good article. Emma John knows how to write an interview in a personal way without making it all about her. The stuff about the village is really nice, it’s obviously an important part of the man.

      He’s a real old Mr Can’t Be Wrong, though, eh.

      Hope they enjoyed the Rose’s chocolates.

      Like

    • Zephirine June 8, 2016 / 6:43 pm

      “Fred Trueman would’ve got him out for a pastime.”

      Like

    • man in a barrel June 8, 2016 / 7:16 pm

      Does Cook know that there is a difference between match fixing and what Amir did? It would be nice to think so.

      Like

    • SimonH June 8, 2016 / 7:24 pm

      No, it’s not a cricket statistical type thing.

      Like

  9. nonoxcol June 8, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Guardian cricket page currently has two photos of Cook either side of Selvey, and if you click on any article (and don’t have an ad blocker) you will see yet another photo of Cook in one of those two “Boycott Bingo” monstrosities appearing throughout all cricket articles on a relentless, tedious loop and putting me right off the Channel 5 highlights. Actually, on the one day I did watch it, Simon Hughes was doing wretched impressions of Boycott and there was no actual cricket for about five minutes, so I’m not missing anything.

    In fact, I just clicked the Compton/Vince piece and you get Cook’s “stick of rhubarb” photo above the headline *and* down the right-hand side, while on the left-hand side is a photo of – yes! – Cook from one of the pieces I didn’t click.

    Then halfway down Selvey’s piece, guess what? Yes it’s the Cook “stick of rhubarb” picture again, in case you missed it.

    Two-thirds of the way down Selvey’s piece, and there’s Cook and his rhubarb again.

    What’s opposite the first comment? Blimey, it’s Anderson swinging an orange.

    No, I lied. It’s Cook and his stick of rhubarb again.

    So, clicking on the article not about Cook gives you six photos of Cook.

    Not a page for the faint-hearted, basically.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine June 8, 2016 / 7:50 pm

      Now if that was Beckham, you might not like it but a lot of women would. The first time I was aware of Beckham’s existence was some highly respectable girls in an office being cheerfully crude about what they’d like to do with and to him. He’s one of those rare men who are just mysteriously sexy, regardless of whether he’s nice or dim or horrid. Hence, IMO, quite a bit of the hostility towards him from men.

      Somebody thinks Cook is the same*. They’re wrong.

      *To be fair, I don’t think it’s Cook.

      Like

      • nonoxcol June 8, 2016 / 7:58 pm

        “Hence, IMO, quite a bit of the hostility towards him from men.”

        100% spot on. Reminds me that, for a while, I’ve been half-expecting someone to come out with that exact “jealousy” gambit when trying to confront robust comments about Cook. Errrrrrr….. no.

        Like

      • man in a barrel June 9, 2016 / 10:57 am

        It’s better than that shot of him with the dead deer, but that is setting the bar low

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s