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Jonny Gould
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Read Jonny's Baseball World Cup blog HERE

30th October 2009

Hi Fellow Baseball-Nuts,
The World Series is upon us - up the Phillies!!! Check out the following site for all UK
fans.
http://www.thestirrer.co.uk/its-just-not-cricket-3010091.html, 2009

The sound of willow and leather, the taste of warm beer on a Sunday afternoon, the sudden shout as a side is retired.

Cricket.

Well, how about the sound of 60,000 fans on a cold late October evening, the taste of multi-million dollar athletes tired but excited after a 160 game season and the sudden shout as a sharp- eyed hitter slams a ball into the klieg lights 450 feet away?

Baseball.

I have spent more than 3 decades on this island refusing to be drawn in comparing the two sports. They are both great.

But this week, baseball shines as its World Series (OK, it is a grandiose term) roars off. The New York Yankees, the Man U of baseball, rolling in money and history and pride, take on the Philadelphia Phillies- a makeshift team only 90 miles away from NYC.

Think of Man U taking on Sheffield Wednesday in the Cup Final.

The Phillies won the opening game thanks to a pitcher flinging the ball close to 100 mph from only 60 feet away. The Yankees, a team of over priced and slightly aging hitters, could only muscle one single run in losing 6-1.

It’s been a long season and my Wyoming friend Ron and I have spent many an evening watching games off his hard drive from ESPN America ever since Channel Five slapped me in the face with a wet fish and unceremoniously dropped its baseball coverage earlier this year.

It’s been six months of baseball, six months of knowing we are the only two people in Birmingham, if not this great nation of ours, that flinch at an inside curve, roar after a shoestring catch and fall off the couch when a grand slam heads off into outer space into deep center.

The Phillies or Yanks have to win 4 out of 7 to win the series. The winning players trouser millions.

Here are some baseball terms now in common use over here and their derivations

Left field:

The outer part of the baseball ground is the outfield. Left field is where right handed batters pull the ball. So, it is historically longer and deeper- thus left field means a long way away.

Strike Three:

Three swings and you’re out - gone, down, beaten.

Out of the box:

A batter stands in a rectangular box to hit the ball. If he steps out of the box, play stops- ergo, to be out of the box means to step back and think things though. Throw someone a curve:

A curve ball swerves away from a hitter sharply and is sudden and can surprise a batter.

Steal Home:

The sexiest and cheekiest move in baseball, unexpected, glaringly fast and usually kamikaze-like in trying to score an extra run. If it works, you have pulled off something amazing under someone’s nose.

There you go: baseball is in the air. And these days, probably being spoken, unknowingly by someone in your office.

Batter up.

Lutz, Richard.

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