Tales of Two Bat and Ball Games – Baseball vs Cricket

In the ongoing Baseball vs Cricket debate, some continue to say that they are similar. However, the easy and basic answer is that they aren’t similar. One piece of example would be that we play cricket with 11 players while baseball uses 9 players.

Additionally, the equipment used in both sports might have similar names, but the materials used and their looks are completely different. While there are some differences, there are some similarities as well.

As such, both baseball and cricket are two of the most popular bat and ball games globally. Both of these are popular sports with different fan bases. But just because you and your friends are cricket lovers, that doesn’t mean that you have to detest baseball fans.

For this reason, we are writing this Baseball vs Cricket article where we will inform you of both the differences and similarities between the two games. We will be talking about their histories, equipment, strategies, and other such topics.

So, if you’re interested in baseball and cricket, then continue reading.

Table of Contents ↴

Baseball VS Cricket Popularity

Baseball vs Cricket _ Popularity
Baseball vs Cricket _ Popularity

Most people indeed enjoy watching a game of cricket when we consider its popularity worldwide. At the same time, you don’t need Einstein’s level of intelligence to know that the popularity of baseball and cricket differs from region to region.

Different people have different likes and dislikes. Some might get pleasure from an adrenaline rush, while others might throw up instead. So, based on your location and other variables, baseball vs cricket popularity is different.

Baseball’s popularity is closely tied with the North American continent, specifically the United States of America or the USA and Canada. But there are countries in South America and East Asia that tend to enjoy playing baseball.

One of the key reasons baseball isn’t that popular internationally is that the sport is played primarily on a national level. Still, the countries that do play baseball show their love quite strongly.

On the other hand, cricket’s popularity for more widespread than baseball. In fact, you can feel its popularity everywhere except maybe North and South America. Unlike baseball, teams play cricket on an international scale regularly.

The origin of cricket is located in England. Therefore, during the colonization by the brits, the gentleman of Britain made sure to spread the good of cricket everywhere. Countries such as England, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Afghanistan are just a few that love cricket.

Even though the British Empire held a strong foothold in the USA, the Americans resisted the temptation. This is something to admire about them, and the resistance can be why cricket isn’t prominent in the USA.

While colonialism played a role in making cricket more popular, many other factors played a role. Even though the Empire ruled there for a longer time, it wasn’t why it was popular.

I mean, a game is a game. You don’t necessarily need to hold a grudge over baseball vs cricket. Plus, it feels oddly satisfying when Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, or other formerly colonized countries defeat the English in their own game.

Here is a table that showcases the popularity of cricket and baseball continent-wise.

Continent

Most Popular Sports

Asia

Cricket, Baseball (East Asia only)

Europe

Cricket

North America

Baseball

South America

Baseball

Africa

Cricket

Oceania

Cricket

History of the Sports: Cricket vs Baseball

For a more in-depth understanding of the popularity of baseball or cricket, you will need to understand their origin stories. Those like me get pleasure from reading and learning about how a sport came to be.

If you are like one of us, then here is a short but comprehensive summary of the origin of cricket and baseball.

Baseball

For the longest time in the world of sports, one of the most popular types of sport was the bat and ball games. One of those popular ones is baseball. As America’s national pastime, baseball has multiple stories and conspiracy theories about its origin.

We will be informing you of the two most popular theories on baseball origins. The first states that baseball was invented by immigrants in the mid-18th century. While the other states that it started by imitating grounders, a game of the British.

Both theories have their own sets of evidence, so you should decide which one jibes with you. However, we know for sure that it wasn’t until the 19th century that baseball really became popular.

If you’re wondering about the pioneers of this popular sport, two of the prominent names would be Alexander Cartwright and Abner Doubleday. And the first game recorded was in 1846. Major League Baseball or MLB, the foremost professional sports league, came in 1871.

Then in 1920, George “Babe” Ruth helped to bring baseball to the forefront of the sport with his amazing pitches. He also played as a hitter and outfielder. He single handly set many baseball records, some of which are still standing.

Next comes Jackie Robinson, known throughout the sports culture for more than just his contribution to the sport. He is the first black man to cross the racial line in baseball. He played in Major League Baseball, making a revolutionary move in contemporary America that was plagued with racism.

Up till 2022, there are 30 teams in MLB. It also oversees Minor League Baseball games. Throughout its history, it expanded and was part of many controversies. Nevertheless, it has come a long way since its inception, and baseball fans are still rooting for its development.

But if you look at other prominent games like cricket or soccer, baseball feels lagged behind. What could be the reason? Well, according to Leo Durocher,

“Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”

Cricket

Unlike baseball, the history of cricket goes back as far as the 15th century, during which some believe children from the Saxon and Norman era in southeast England played it. However, others believe that the game originated in France or Flanders.

King Edward II supposedly played something called Creag or the archaic version of cricket. The 1st recorded game of cricket was held in 1611, during which time the game was said to be only for men.

It wasn’t until a century later, on 26 July 1745, when the first game of cricket that women participated. The spread of cricket happened during the colonization by the British. By the 19th and 20th centuries, we could find cricket lovers in every corner of the globe.

ICC or International Cricket Council was established in 1909. To the present date, it is the most prominent cricket organization globally. The founding members of ICC, which was then called the Imperial Cricket Conference, were Australia, England, and South Africa.

The first cricket world cup was in London for all testing nations back in 1975. Since then, the popularity of cricket has been increasing year after year. In light of its popularity, several countries have come forward with Premier Leagues in recent years.

ICC is the premier establishment holding all types of cricket matches at various scales, such as international and national. Their headquarter was in London but was later moved to Dubai in 2006.

Now let’s discuss some of the greatest cricket players. Sachin Tendulkar, an Indian cricketer, is one of the most legendary batsmen in the world. He was a former captain of the Indian Cricket team.

He believes,

“When people throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones.”

Even though we lovingly called him “Little Master,” his list of achievements is greater than the heights of 100 men combined. So, yeah, his other epithet, “Master Blaster,” suits him better.

Now let us take a few minutes to pay homage to another legendary cricketer, Brian Lara. The Trinidadian former cricketer is internationally acknowledged for his dexterity. He’s another best cricketer and holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400, not out. Sounds quite daunting to me!

Vivian Richards, an Antiguan Batsman, says,

“Some folks will say ‘Oh, Winning ain’t all!” But I know it is all. At the end of the day, no one looks at the loser. So that is why we play to win.” 

Women in the Game- Baseball vs Cricket

If we are talking about baseball vs cricket we will need to talk about how women have an impact in both sports. The impact of women does change the debate of baseball vs cricket.

Baseball

In recent years the prominence of women in baseball has been on the rise, but in the beginning, it wasn’t so. In the mid-19th century, we saw a sudden and definite rise in popularity for women in baseball. As such, many female teams were born in New York and New England.

One of the first notable names in the early era of women’s baseball would be Jackie Mitchell. She rose to prominence at the young age of 17! However, her dalliance with other big time baseball players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during 1931 cost her a lot.

In 1943 with four teams, the Women’s Baseball League started with a 108 game schedule. However, World War II caused a sudden end after only 11 seasons.

After that, it took a long time for women to return to their height. One of the women who helped with the rise was Edith Houghton, who started as a shortstop. She started to play for the MLB in 1946.

From 1989, Gayle Gardner started to regularly host MLB games. She was the 1st woman to host a baseball game. In 2015 we saw the rise of the first female baseball analyst named Jessica Mendoza. She was someone who has worked tirelessly to represent females in the baseball world in a dignified manner.

Effa Manley is another woman who was the sole female member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. She was also the co-owner of the Newark Eagles baseball franchise.

Cricket

USA Women Cricket Team
Baseball vs Cricket

Women’s cricket is more popular than you might think. Even though there’s less funding and facilities, women’s cricket teams are more successful in several countries than their male counterparts. 

Cricket lovers are devouring the matches of both genders almost with the same enthusiasm. But still, some bias stays among the people for the men’s teams as we live in a patriarchal world.

The first Women’s cricket match on Godsden Common near Guildford Surrey was in 1745 between Bramley and Hambleton. Eight noblewomen formed the first female cricket club called the White Heather Club was formed in 1887 by eight noblewomen.

Only recently, ICC recognized the women’s teams as first-class and categorized them as A-listers. In 1954 International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC) came to be, and in 2005 it merged with ICC.

In 1887, the first-ever women’s cricket club came to be. A women’s cricket team was founded in South Africa in 1894. The women’s Test match started in 1934, and the first match was between Australia and England. In 1973 Women’s One Day International (ODIs) came during the Women’s Cricket World Cup.

Like men’s cricket, the Australian women’s cricket team is ruling the field. Other than that, Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, English, West Indies cricket teams are doing really well.

Mithali Raj, an Indian batsman, holds the record of highest run in women’s international cricket. Next is Jhulan Goswami, an Indian all-rounder who has awed the world for a while with her dexterity. Finally, Salma Khatun, a Bangladeshi batsman and offbreak bowler is some of the iconic figures in women’s cricket.

Equipment- Baseball vs Cricket 

Baseball vs Cricket _ Equipment
Baseball vs Cricket _ Equipment

Baseball and cricket have similar equipment. Both play using bats and balls. Both baseball diamond and cricket ground are 400 feet in diameter. 

Despite the apparent similarities, the two sports have a lot of dissimilarities when it comes to playing equipment. But what are those? Let’s find out.

Field

Both cricket and baseball are played in a large outfield. The infield and the outfield of baseball are more distinct. Also, the running area and the rest of the field are split in a calculated manner. On the other hand, batting, bowling, and running occur in the same cricket pitch.

Nevertheless, both sports have in common the boundary rope (cricket) and the warning track (baseball). These are in the field so that the outfielder stays safe by avoiding striking a fence or wall while attempting to catch the ball. 

There’s a portion called fair territory in a baseball diamond. Around this territory are foul lines. Baseball players have to ensure that they play baseball within fair territory and avoid foul lines. 

The fair territory in most Major League Baseball parks ranges from 110,000 to 120,000 square feet. The official minimum distance from the home plate to the closest obstruction should be 250 feet.

Contrarily, you won’t find any foul lines on a cricket pitch. Generally, a cricket ground is of elliptical shape. The width is at least 420 feet, and the length is 426 feet. Test cricket grounds are generally 450 by 500 feet. It can exceed up to 479 by 561 feet in some places.

Moving on, depending upon the condition of the cricket pitch a cricket match is subject to changes. The cricket lovers always pray for adverse weather if their favorite team is on the verge of losing to rain on the other team’s parade. 

You may think about the proverb ‘A bad workman quarrels with his tools.’ But the thing is, unlike baseball, cricket balls do bounce on the field. This is not ok in baseball, though. So, if you’re playing on a wet or uneven pitch, it’ll only make things harder for the teams. 

However, it doesn’t mean that baseball players can merrily play regardless of the weather condition. International matches may still continue if it’s drizzling during a baseball game. But if it’s full of cats and dogs, the match will stop. In contrast, cricket matches stop even if it’s drizzling.

Bats

A baseball bat is round and thin. At its rear end, there’s a tapered handle. The width of the thick part of the bat is 2.625″. As for length, it’s at best 42″. 

On the other hand, a cricket bat is flat and wide. Baseball bats can be a maximum of 38″ long. It is a sight that comes into view behind the bat in cricket and baseball, not behind the player’s back.

Balls

The most visual similarity between the equipment used in both cricket and baseball is in the ball. The ball you see in cricket is similar to the ball in baseball, except they have layers of heavy leather and are comparatively harder and heavier. 

In the core of both cricket ball and baseball ball is cork. The ideal weight of a baseball ball is 5 ounces, while a cricket ball may weigh up to 5.75 ounces. 

But when you talk about differences, it lies in replaceability. When a cricket ball clashes with the stands, the audience has to strike it back to the cricket field.

Besides, you can play cricket with a scratched or scuffed ball. Bowlers use the same ball for 80 overs in test cricket matches and 25 overs in an ODI. 

Nevertheless, if a ball gets lost, the organizers replace it with a ball that matches the condition of the lost ball to ensure fairness. 

So, when we see on television that a cricket player is scuffing a new cricket ball against his pants, they are trying to mold it into the condition of the lost ball. But no artificial substance is acceptable. 

On the other hand, if a baseball ball reaches the audience, they may keep it as a souvenir. The balls are also replaced without much rigidity. 

Another difference is that the baseball pitchers or other people can’t scuff the ball under any circumstances. If someone attempts to alter the ball using any foreign substance, we call that ball “spitballs”.

Not only that, cricket balls are pretty versatile. There’s variation in balls based on the format of the matches. I.e., red balls were used for ODI and Test matches. But now it’s replaced by white balls.

But what’s the fuss over colors? Well, it’s actually about the seam and swing. White balls are known to swing better than red ones. Pink balls are under research for a balanced swinging for a day-night match.

There are usually three types of cricket balls-

  • The Dukes ball (the darker red one): It is the most ancient cricket ball manufactured in the UK. The handmade ball is robust and doesn’t get old any time soon. England, West Indies, and Ireland like to use the Dukes ball for most of their matches.
  • The Kookaburra (lighter red one): Since 1890 bowlers used this type of ball. Since then, it has internationally been acclaimed as the finest ball. The ball is totally factory manufactured. Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka use Kookaburra balls for their international and domestic matches. Oh, and by the way, the brand is Australian.
  • The SG Ball (white ball): SG stands for Sanspareils Greenlands. It’s an India based company that started its journey in 1931. SG balls are mainly used in India for different matches. Its wide seam makes it an apt choice for a whole day’s match and the dry weather of India. 

Stumps

Stumps are for ‘wicket-keeping’ when it comes to cricket. Usually, they measure 28 in/71.12 cm and have dome-shape at the top and cylindrical through and through. 

The diameter varies from 1.38 in/3.50 cm to 1.5 in/3.81 cm. Nevertheless, stumps aren’t in baseball. 

Kumar Sangakkara, Adam Gilchrist, MS Dhoni are some of the finest wicket-keepers in the world. So, you’ll mostly see these players lingering around the stumps. 

Protective Gear

Baseball players usually wear gloves to play with ease. These are not padded. Hence, it not only expands your reach but also gives decent safety. 

But if you’re a catcher, you have to take extra caution by wearing a protective glove. You will also have to wear padded chest protectors. 

A baseball batter also has to wear a helmet made of hard plastic. Some other essential safety gadgets are ankle, shin, hand protectors. A chest protector is a must for baseball fielders. 

Players also put on a cup (box) as another essential protective gear. A wire mask set into a hard plastic shell is also required for enhanced protection.

As for cricket, unless you’re a wicket-keeper, you may choose to play cricket without wearing gloves. A batsman needs thigh pads, a helmet, an arm pad, a chest guard, and a box. 

The fielders cannot use any protective gear. But if they stay way too close to a batsman, they are allowed to wear one.

The Umpire’s Role – Baseball vs Cricket

Baseball:

In baseball, there are four umpires; one behind the home plate and one at each of the three bases. The umpires at each base have the task of deciding if a player is ‘safe’ or ‘out.’ The umpires at the home base have the task of calling out balls and strikes with each pitch.

These umpires wear a distinctive uniform, with the home plate umpire wearing a facemask and chest protector for safety reasons. Each of the umpires can eject players, managers, or coaches if they break any rules.

Finally, the replay officials are full time MLB umpires that stay inside the Replay Command Center in NY. These umpires are in charge of reviewing the calls and changes on the field using video captures.

Some of the more noteworthy umpires retired or on active duty in baseball; Greg Gibson, Jim Joyce, Joe West, Doug Harvey, and Chuck Meriwether.

Cricket

In cricket, there are two umpires in most games. Still, a third one is in charge of video-assisted decision-making in international games. The two umpires at the field are in charge of the two ends of the field.

The two coaches take turns standing either behind the stumps where the bowler stops or the batsman’s creases or square leg. The umpire in charge of the video-assisted decision making can overrule the umpires’ decisions active on the field.

The job of the cricket umpires actually begins even before the bowler throws the first ball. Two umpires come to the field and thoroughly check the field, players’ equipment, rules, and other things.

Since there are multiple ways in which players can score a run or out another player, the umpires need to use various signals to show them. Some of the most distinguished umpires are Dickie Bird, Aleem Dar, Billy Bowden, David Shephard, Asad Rauf, Sundaram Ravi.

Cricket in the USA

USA Men Cricket Team
Baseball vs Cricket

The first cricket match was in 1844 between the USA and Canada in the USA. Although the British Empire colonized Canada at that time, the match was between ‘The United States of America versus the British Empire’s Canadian Province.’

The match was witnessed by 20000 people was it somewhat of a big deal. Fast-forward to 1965, and the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) earned the associate membership of ICC. However, the associate membership was canceled in 2017.

The reason for membership cancellation was poor governance and lack of funding there ICC Americas oversaw it until 2019. By then, the USA had learned back its official membership.

In 1979, the United States participated in any international tournament at the ICC Trophy in England. Since then, it has taken part in every World Cup Qualifier except for only two editions.

The USA Cricket Team won the 2004 ICC Six Nations Challenge and thus, paved its way to the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy. There the team played its first ODI matches. Another time skip to 2018, and ICC conceded the team full Twenty20 International (T20I) status to the USA.

In 2019, the USA team secured the fourth position. It lost to Papua New Guinea. This helped the USA team qualify for the 2019–22 ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 and carried ODI status. USA hosted the first-ever domestic ODI series in September 2019.

Recently, in November 2021, a five-match limited-overs series was declared between Ireland and the USA. In January 2022, the USA hosted a bilateral series with a test nation, West Indies and Ireland. Nevertheless, the series was postponed multiple times due to the pandemic situation.

Tie-breakers: Baseball vs Cricket

Baseball

There are several ways how you can break a tie in baseball. The most common type is the ‘win-loss records by teams.’ If there’s a tie in MLB, the club possessing the greater winning percentage in the last half of intraleague games gets the leverage of determining its position.

But what if the percentage is also the same? In that case, the two-Club tiebreak rules will be applicable.

Cricket

How do you decide a winner if a cricket match ends in a draw? That’s where a Super Over comes in. People call it a ‘one-over eliminator.’ Its seen mainly in the limited-overs match where two team plays one over, and the winner wins the match

If the Super Over ends in a draw, the overs continue until a winner emerges. The winner is the team with the maximum number of runs. However, a Super Over ending in a draw or tie is exceedingly rare.

Every player has a crucial role in earning their team the much-anticipated conquest. Catchers like Rahul Dravid, Bob Simpson, Mahela Jayawardene have frequently assisted their teams in such trying times.

Why is Cricket So Popular All Over the World?

The best way to describe the appeal of Cricket to the uninformed masses would be through something English poet Edmund Blunden once said,

“Cricket to us was more than play, it was a worship in the summer sun.”

People have always been enthusiastic about cricket. You may think that your favorite team is on its way to conquering the match. But then, a negligible factor may end up being the game-changer! 

The adrenaline rush people get from this uncertainty makes them people hooked to their seats. And this is why ‘match-fixing’ is such a deadly sin in this field. You shouldn’t mess with the course of nature; you shouldn’t meddle with the way of a match either!

Career Mohammad Ashraful, a top-order batsman, succumbed to match-fixing. Was he a victim of coercion, or did his greed lead to his downfall? Careers of prominent players like Hansie Cronje, Mohammad Azharuddin were destroyed for being involved in this crime. 

Powerplay is another aspect that adds to the allure of cricket. This special set of overs comes with some special fielding rules. We usually see it in the limited-overs cricket match. Test matches don’t involve powerplay rules.

In one match, Shakib Al Hasan may hold the world’s best all-rounder title. The next day, he may wake up to the news of losing his title. Well, this is a hypothetical situation. But such occurrences aren’t rare in cricket.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Which one is more popular between baseball and cricket?

Generally speaking, cricket is the more popular one. However, in some regions like East Asia, North America, and South America, baseball is loved more by people than cricket.

Is a cricket bat the same as a baseball bat?

No, both of these bats are pretty different. While baseball bats are round and thin, cricket ats are flat and wide.

How many innings are there in baseball and cricket?

There are 9 innings in baseball. The innings of cricket depend on the format of the match.

Which game has fewer restrictions between baseball and cricket?

Cricket is more flexible between the two. Baseball has rigid rules, and the players must act quickly while cricketers can be allowed more time to think in between the actions.

Are there different types of baseball bats?

Due to different materials and different difficulty levels, there are different baseball bats. The three most common types of wood baseball bat, composite and alloy baseball bats. In terms of difficulty beginner/children use t-ball bats or Wiffle ball bats and coaches will use the best fungo bats.

Conclusion

Both baseball and cricket have their fair share of allure. Putting one against the other would be unfair. We should embrace the diversity these two seemingly similar sports bring to the fields. 

So, if we talk about baseball vs cricket popularity, surely, cricket has the upper hand. But it doesn’t mean that we should shy away from getting to know baseball. We all know that the most unpopular folks could be the coolest person we may have ever known frequently. 

So, why shouldn’t we accept baseball with the same intrigue and enthusiasm?

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