Friday, July 17, 2009

Fuck America, Team Yeah!

I was writing a comment for Roscoe's previous update, about taking the T20 stateside, but it was getting a bit long so I thought I might as well give it the full update treatment.

The short version.

How often have you watched an IPL match and thought "wow, if only this was America."


The long version.

First the positives. I do admit, I get a kick out of a hearing from someone who didn't like cricket (or perhaps even didn't know the sport) but who now finds himself using stat guru to compare Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis' first innings averages when playing away from home. So I'm all for new cricket fans.

Also, I'll concede to the vague notion that America getting excited about the sport would lead to some nifty technological advances in the coverage of the game...although I'm not really sure what they would be.

I'm sure there are other positives but I'll be damned if I can think of any right now, so let's sashay over to the negatives.

Roscoe wrote a great piece about some of the more galling aspects of the IPL. Well, those aspects are largely inspired by American sports.

Did anyone other than Lasif like the strategy timeout? Well, tune in to any American sport and chances are you're just as likely to be greeted by a grinning panda bear juggling cans of Pepsi than any actual sport.

I'm not sure why but all American sports seem as if they were designed with advertising breaks in mind. So we can look forward to half a dozen strategy timeouts instead of just the one. They're also big on branding so if you hate the "DLF Maximum!", you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

But all that is under the assumption that the league would take off and be a success. However, Americans hate shit that isn't American. Soccer/football is the most popular and accessible sport in the world and even that hasn't truly broken through. You'd have to live with poor attendances and coverage for at least a decade before any kind of notable penetration begins, and that's probably a best case scenario.

Finally, a few days ago Flintoff retired from Test cricket because his body can't hack the work load. We hear that excuse more and more and not just from players but fans also feel the fatigue.

Baseball is the closest equivalent to cricket. In America each team plays a minimum of 162 games a season over the course of 6 months. Suddenly the IPL doesn't seem quite so bloated, does it?

That said, if there's a chance that Americans will take to the game its worth pursuing just so we might one day get a cricket computer game that doesn't completely blow.


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