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The Sports Thread


#1186

Oh I wasn’t having a go, just saying it’s a well-worn insult that I’ve never really agreed with.

Going back to NBA Jam, it’s funny how a lot of big US sports got exposure in the UK through video games in those days. John Madden football, EA hockey and NBA Jam were all huge games, spawned lots of imitators, and I learned about those sports largely through them. (I don’t remember that many baseball games though - probably about as many as there were cricket games.)

I wonder if it partly accounts for the rise in popularity of these sports in the UK as my generation got older.


#1187

Very kind of you, I would have a go, it’s extremely unoriginal and David should be ashamed of himself. :smile:

As to US sports in the UK it’s the other flip of what I was saying. Before the mid 80s in a sense they didn’t even exist, you would know about them from news reports or mentions in fiction but a game had never been shown on television. You couldn’t really be a ‘fan’ if you wanted to as essentially it was more of a concept than anything you could consume.

Channel 4 picked up NFL at that time and they had The Refrigerator William Perry as their ‘character’ who grabbed the imagination (although I believe he was never actually that great a player just a bit of a physical freak).

Move on just over 30 years later and there’s realistic talk of an NFL franchise based in the UK. It’s still miles and miles behind football in public attention and probably always will be but it shows that gradual shift and growth I mentioned. Just as the MLS and the Seattle Sounders getting an average 45,000 attendance is a similar shift from where soccer was in the US in 1985. (I agree the video games probably played a part too).


#1188

Basketball isn’t an inherently high-scoring game; they implemented rules to make it high scoring.

You’re not allowed to just stick a tall guy underneath the basket to defend it, you’re not allowed to block a shot on the way down or (in the US) once it’s hit the rim, you have 10 seconds to bring the ball past the half-court line and 24 seconds to shoot it or you turn it over to the other team. The 24 seconds was determined by what an official decided was the right amount of shots for a “good” game. The NBA adopted it in the 1950s because they realized nobody wanted to see a game where one team got the lead and then held the ball the whole time. And it’s not a US thing—FIBA also uses all of these rules with minor tweaks.

These rules are as if soccer put some restrictions on the goalie, forced you to take a shot on goal within say 90 seconds of each possession, and forbade teams from holding the ball for very long. Putting aside the initial gut reaction would this be a worse game? I don’t know. You’d definitely end up with a lot more highlights for Youtube and Sportscenter.

Baseball isn’t that bad; it’s just dull on TV unless it’s a great game. It’s meant to be seen in person, and taken slowly—the season is incredibly long and the teams play like 5 games a week. There’s a reason why it’s called the national “pastime” and not the national “sport”. But once you find your way into the pace it’s agreeable. A big problem with baseball is the “Moneyball” generation figured out you could win with mediocre players by slowing the games way down, so now games take significantly longer, thanks to the analytics approach, and MLB has been slow to introduce some easily enforceable rules to speed the game up (such as not letting hitters leave the batter’s box).


#1189

Some teams think that’s already a rule :smirk:


#1190

@SeanR, what are your thoughts on this?


#1191

Good for him. Hung out to dry working the last year of his contract. Now that he did win of course he’ll set a high price, highest for Washington (not that we’ll know the numbers).

Now he can go wherever he wants. He won’t be out of work long, unless he wants to take a year off.
Who knows, maybe he wants to get in with the Seattle group (especially after what happened in Vegas).


#1192

From Wikipedia:

After Ryan hit Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox with a pitch, Ventura charged the mound in order to fight Ryan, who was 20 years his senior. Ryan secured the 26-year-old Ventura in a headlock with his left arm, while pummeling Ventura’s head with his right fist six times before catcher Iván Rodríguez was able to pull Ventura away from Ryan. Ryan stated afterwards it was the same maneuver he used on steers he had to brand on his Texas ranch. Videos of the incident were played that evening throughout the country. While Ventura was ejected, Ryan–who had barely moved from his spot on the mound in the fracas–was allowed to remain in the game. White Sox manager Gene Lamont vehemently argued this, leading to his own ejection. Ryan pitched a hitless ball game the rest of the way.

Some facts about Nolan Ryan:

  • Ryan, a hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher, threw pitches that were regularly clocked above 100 miles per hour (161 km/h). He maintained this velocity throughout his career, even into his 40s.
  • Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher.

I actually watched that fight on TV when it happened. Ventura (the guy who charged the mound) was ejected and Ryan (the pitcher) continued the game.


#1193

This is why I always find it strange that so many Americans seem actively hostile to cricket. It’s got the same general sort of pace and attitude as baseball, just with a different, higher scoring system.


#1194

Are Americans actively hostile to cricket? I hadn’t noticed but it doesn’t mean they aren’t.


#1195

Yes but they aren’t really. It’s all like that rounders comment, just nationalistic rhetoric based on very little they actually know. I’d put a decent bet on the fact the vast majority of Brits that have a crack at "stop-start’ American football have never actually sat down, taken in a decent understanding of the rules and watched a game.

The length of a full cricket test match is rather unique in sport (up to 5 days) but yes the appeal generally is the same as baseball. It’s a slow game where it’s more about the experience of the day out and you can drift in and out of it casually. (and of course the most popular cricket nowadays is one day or 20-20 which is even closer to baseball but much higher scoring).


#1196

I wouldn’t say hostile. I think Americans simply haven’t been exposed to it in any meaningful way. If it is televised at all, it’s buried deep on a cable channel with very low viewership anyway. If you mention the sport “cricket” to an American, they might say it’s “that English sport like baseball” and may recognize the bat from movies and TV shows and that would be it. Cricket simply lacks exposure here in the states.

The closest I’ve ever come to seeing a cricket game was watching some guys play for fun in a park where I was walking.


#1197

#1198

Haha, I was just going to post that. :slight_smile:


#1199

I never did either until my son started playing. Going to see a live game is fun because it’s as much of a social event as it is going to watch the game.

But when the boy started playing I learned the nuances of the game and the intricacies I didn’t know before. I still wouldn’t watch it on TV but I have a greater appreciation for it now.


#1200

The funny thing with cricket is it’s seen as some eccentric English obsession but actually what controls it globally now is India. Its pace is perfectly suited to their hot and humid weather (I’ve played a football match in India in the Summer, they started the game at 7am because it’s unbearable any time later).

In a reversal of the old days of Empire they have the biggest competition, the IPL (Indian Premier League) and bid at auction for which British players get to play for Bangalore and Chennai for a million quid. When I last visited a couple of years ago Sachin Tendulkar (probably their best batsman ever) had his own clothing line far surpassing the endorsements even the likes of Michael Jordan had with Nike, it’s like if Jordan owned Nike.


#1201

Forgive me for getting political, but saying Football(soccer) will never succeed because “most Americans” prefer the NFL does not hold much weight with me. “Most Americans” voted for President a reality star. Why should their opinion matter that much?

I love the Broncos but I can’t even watch them on a weekly basis.

If you need a break every 5 minutes to “get a beer, go to the bathroom, etc.” I feel sorry for you. Again, i reference “most Americans”. Hockey and Soccer are great sports because the action does not stop. Both Baseball and Football are play based, they do something, stop, then do it again. Hockey, Soccer, and Basketball are time-based, they do not need to stop. they also do not need “talking heads” sitting in a booth babbling nonsense to fill time while play on the field has stopped. I realize that time stops in these other games and commentators do talk but the stops are random and not built into the rules of the game.

In fact, when I had season tickets to Hockey, one of the most annoying aspects was “TV timeouts” and I am not even going to get started on going to a live NFL game.

I am in a rant-y mood. I just got back from Colorado. maybe proximity to @Miqque affected me.


#1202

Surely the point is that it’s not the fans who need the breaks, it’s the TV network that demands them?


#1203

They didn’t though, really. But this is besides the point.

Tennis has to take breaks every few minutes and that’s mandated by broadcasters (so they can show adverts), not the sport itself. It doesn’t really impede the game any.


#1204

i guess so. I was looking at njerry’s comment from the viewpoint of the fan not the network. so you are right.

@MartinSmith, I mentioned the TV timeouts for Hockey. they are the same. My point is if Football can get away from broadcaster mandated ads, why cant other sports?

the quotes around most Americans were there because it is not true.


#1205

Most fans hate the TV time outs too. The whole ‘Americans need to go to the bathroom or need to get another beer’ narrative doesn’t hold much water. And Ice Hockey seems to work just fine as a sport in the US. NBA and NBA don’t thrive because they have lots of time stoppages, in fact they’d probably do even better if there were fewer stoppages.

Soccer can thrive on advertising money in every other country on the planet, the US would be no exception.