In what sport do people swing a heavy bat to hit a leather ball on a wide open field? Depending on where you live, the answer that immediately emerges from your head is likely to be either cricket or baseball. Based on that, if your first thoughts are about cricket, I am quite certain that you have been affiliated with a central Asian country or the British Commonwealth. On the other hand, if baseball seems to resonate, you are probably connected to North America, South America or East Asia in one way or another. Both of these sports have forever changed the face of the sporting world. Out of curiosity, I dare pose this question: Which sport is more popular?
The “nuances” in the gameplay
Although both sports use similar equipment, they do not have much in common. For instance, a cricket player is tasked to defend the wickets, while a baseball player tires to hit the ball before it goes into the strike zone. Baseball fans zoom in on the diamond field, while cricket lovers stare at the cricket pitch. From a historical perspective, women have played a part in cricket since 1745, while it took women in America almost two more centuries to start playing baseball in 1934. During a cricket match, the coaches do little to affect the gameplay, but managers and coaches in baseball make pretty much all the calls in the game. Despite their dissimilarities, both sports are considered the national pastime of numerous countries.
Cricket is a sport known for having the most intricate rules. Its complexity, such as the concept of a 360-degree field and the LBW rule among others, sometimes deeply confuses people in America. However, countless people are devoted to the sport, because cricket is a truly international sport full of excitement and controversy. On the other hand, passionate cricket fans have little room in their heart for a sport that is considered almost fully American. Baseball matches are a lot shorter and do not build up drama quite the same way that cricket matches do. From a marketing perspective, baseball holds a slight edge, because baseball requires lesser people to play and the rules are simpler for fans to become hooked.
Beauty and easiness: Cricket: 8 Baseball: 9
Looking at history through the maps
In order to judge how important a sport is to the world, one must also examine the prevalence of the sports and their leagues. Cricket originates from England and has been played since the 16th century. It took slightly longer for Americans to convert the British round ball into the Yankee sport. As a result, the games are celebrated on different levels in the world.
Geographically, baseball is only extremely popular in the United States. Therefore, baseball’s major leagues are mainly played on the national level. As a result, the game lacks international prevalence. In contrast, cricket was made popular through the Commonwealth. Luckily for the fans, the cricket World Cup, the T20 World Cup and the Asia Cup are shared across the world. Cricket can be seen in countries like Canada, New Zealand and Caribbean, in addition to the central Asian countries. Consequently, cricket revenue consists mainly of international matches, while baseball revenue comes from domestic leagues.
Prevalence in the world: Cricket: 9.5 Baseball: 7
The cultural roots and effects
The number of cricket and baseball sayings in everyday language is simply amazing. Baseball has ingrained itself in American phrases, prime examples of which are “getting to first base” and “he struck out”. Similarly, cricket has created phrases such as “that’s not cricket”, “sticky wicket” and “played a straight bat”. Hollywood and Bollywood have created masterpiece films such as Field of Dreams and Lagaan based on baseball and cricket respectively. The artistic expressions are testimony to the sports’ greatness. Both sports have integrated themselves into people’s language and entertainment. What more can we ask for? I’d say that both sports are as influential as possible in their respective regions. After all, cricket and baseball are the 2nd and 4th most popular sports in the world respectively, based on the number of fans and popularity of the sports amongst the fans.
Effects on culture: Cricket: 9.5 Baseball: 9.5
Does this argument need a conclusion?
Between baseball and cricket, which is more popular? These two sports are each other’s foil. Organizers of both sports can learn a great deal from each other in areas such as media broadcasts and anti-doping controls. Only through learning and sharing can both become truly global sports. I think cricket holds a slight edge in popularity. As someone living in Canada, a country affiliated with the Commonwealth but situated right next to the United States, I think my opinion is fair to a certain degree.
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