Oct 21, 2006

We Had to Believe.

Still recovering from the Mets' loss on Thursday. They kept us hanging on. One has to think, Willie's boys (or more appropriately, Omar's boys) would have made it fairly easily if El Duque or Pedro were healthy. But such is baseball, and as the commentators say ad naseum, such is the wonder and marvel of the game - you can't always just dominate the team that doesn't have the marquee players (not that the hated Cardinals don't have marquee players, but clearly, neither Pujols nor Rolens were the stars of this series). I know that it's somewhat passe to like baseball, but there's something about the game. It's a game of math and statistics, and clearly, one of the most diverse in American professional sports.

I guess there are a number of similarities between it and cricket that go beyond the "bat-and-ball"... American influence, while not always wholly colonial like the British, still came in visions of empire in the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific frontier. It's no surprise that baseball's popularity in Japan has surpassed its omni-presence as the most popular American pastime. I guess the same, or at least similar, could be said about cricket in the South Asian nations and their diasporas throughout the world, and certainly the same can be said about the West Indies. Though I guess England still has its rabid fans (is there some loss from cricket to futbol, I wonder out loud).

There has been a lot written about how the ballgame is no longer the preferred game in American urban communities, for African American youth, or even for suburban school kids. The swelling soccer rolls have to come from somewhere, and I guess we can hear the crickets chirping in some Little League fields. The baseball strike in the 90s, the lack of a salary caps and the whinny players who benefit from life without them, the steroids crisis, and the planting of stadiums on top of flourishing communities (ok, that's my issue) all have contributed to the turning of the collective American backs to the game.

But still, I like baseball. And I liked the Mets - though I have to admit that I am a recovering Yankee fan who just realizes that they *are* the Empire, and I was following the wrong team for a long time. Anyway, I feel like if there's anywhere that suburban desi kids are going to break through in a major way in professional sports, I think that they have the best chance in baseball. It's the most diverse sport, you don't have to be the most fit person in your school, and hell, there are just so many players. I wonder if there are any desis making their way up through the minor leagues. I'm sure there are (Single A, even), but I guess I should check.

Wouldn't it be funky fresh if a team imported a South Asian cricket bowling superstar to take a crack at relief pitching? But I guess that's not home-grown. And I don't really know as many 2nd generation desis who are fanatic about cricket...See, Mr. Average White Guy? We do assimilate in America.

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