It’s the beginning of spring, and the baseball season is starting up. Whether you follow baseball for the live games, the fantasy league, the team that represents your city or just having your friends over to watch the game as a group, it’s easy to get lost in baseball fever. But before we show how much we love our teams by sitting in cold chairs and buying overpriced food and drinks, let’s remember what else has been lost in all the baseball hype — the game of cricket.
The English game of cricket has been around since the 1500s and is very similar to baseball, according to the BBC. The arenas for baseball and cricket are similar. Both sports involve one team hitting a ball to try to score runs while the other team throws the ball and defends the field to prevent the other team from getting the upper hand. Cricket is even more similar because it was once a very popular sport in America —during the 1700s.
If cricket used to be so popular in America, why is it practically unheard of in the U.S. now? Baseball actually became popular in the United States as a result of our country’s national pride, according to a BBC story. Much like how the U.S. lists the date month/day/year instead of day/month/ year, the American way slightly changes the formula to differentiate our western powerhouse from European nations. So when baseball was invented, it quickly grew to popularity as an American substitute for cricket.
American nationalism, however, wasn’t the only factor that prompted the change. Although the U.S. does have a few avid fans of the sport, by today’s standards, cricket is said to be very … boring. While the average baseball game takes about three hours to finish, a typical cricket match can take far longer. A normal cricket game can be drawn out over the course of three to five days, with about six hours of game time each day. Baseball’s brevity helped its rise in popularity, because its early fans thought any person with common sense would rather watch 10 baseball games than a single cricket match. As baseball’s popularity continued to rise, cricket’s fans diminished until it dissolved from American memory almost entirely, according to BBC.
So when you buy your jerseys and hats to support your team, remember how fortunate you are to enjoy a sport like baseball, and take pity on baseball’s neglected cousin, cricket. Take pity on cricket for its lack of presence in American sports culture. Take pity on cricket for being lost to the sands of time and the American way. But most importantly, take pity on cricket’s fans, who even now are waiting for their 30-hour game to finish.