Of late, I’ve been trying to understand baseball. Understand how it’s played. The rules. And so forth. The more i think about it, the more similar I find it to our good old gully cricket. Here are a few:
- Throw – you throw the ball, don’t bowl it
- No stumps. How often have you played gully cricket where you have three stones for stumps, and a bowled is almost as complicated as a LBW!
- Strike out – in cases as mentioned above, sometimes you dispense with the bowled (too hard to judge) and put in the rule that if the batsman gets beaten thrice (or in some cases, twice in consecutive balls) he is out.
- Current stumping. So how do you run someone out in gully cricket when you don’t have the stumps? You do what is called a current stumping. One foot on one of the stones representing the stumps, and you need to catch the ball cleanly. Isn’t this what always happens in baseball?
- (my personal favorite) No back runs – when you are playing with a limited number of fielders, you “make it fairer” by eliminating back runs. You have to score in front of the wicket. It’s worse in baseball. You have to hit it between extra cover and midwicket.
- Deflected catches – in some versions of gully cricket (not all), a batsman is out if the ball bounces off some “externality” such as a tree or a wall. Similarly, in baseball, catches taken off the boundary wall are legal.
- (ok this is total fraud) Catching with one hand. I must admit this isn’t exactly similar. In baseball you always catch with one hand. In some versions of gully cricket you have the “one pitch one hand out”. If you can catch the ball clean with one hand after it has bounced once, the batsman is out. This rule is usually used in order to make the game fairer for the bowlers.
- Running without the bat – Typically there is only one bat so the non-striker doesn’t have one. And in order to save time in handing over the bat after a run, the batsman sometimes drops the bat and runs. Just like in baseball. And I’ve always wondered if it’s a rule in baseball. Why don’t the batsmen run with the bat and try ground it in?
- No concept of overs – in a large number of instances of gully cricket, there is no concept of overs. And the bowler bowls as long as he pleases and you have to actually fight with him to allow you to bowl.
Of course there are a large number of differences – you don’t run around in circles in gully cricket (you run straight or not at all), the other rules are largely simple and so forth. Still, I believe baseball is only a glorified version of our street cricket!
One last rule I’d like to see in baseball – batting aad takshaNa bowling illa? (no bowling immediately after batting) – the ultimate rule of Bangalore individual gully cricket where you can’t bowl immediately after you’ve gotten out. And oh yes, Bombay numbers to determine the batting order would be good too! ?