Monday, July 20, 2009

"Who are these guys?"

(sung to Don McLean's "American Pie")

Oh, and when we went down to Citi
Wanted Mets what a pity,
Got a shrine to Jackie,
Where’s Nails and Mookie?
And while Louie’s drop was a disgrace,
Ryan Church missed third base,
And Murphy fell flat on his face.
The day the season died.

I started bloggin’
Hey hey, who are these guys?
From Cora, Murphy and now Frenchy,
And Frenchy’s got no eye.
Those good players were stuck in the MRI
And singin’ I could get that RBI.
I could get that RBI.


Cricket's fiercest and oldest international rivalry, England v. Australia, resumes this summer. The two sides first fought in 1877, and now meet every two years or so to compete for "The Ashes." The two sides battle through a five-test series (each test lasts a maximum of five days) with England's final partnership stoically holding out at the death for a dramatic draw in the first test last week in Cardiff, Wales. (with a little help from a pleasantly-plump physio).

And just today, England defeated Australia at the famous Lord's Cricket Ground in London for the first time since 1934 to put them up 1-0 with three to play. I recently read a history of this ground, "Lord's: The Cathedral of Cricket" by Stephen Green and have scanned in some images of historical note:

Graham Gooch in 1993.
The pavilion at Lord's.
An aerial view of Lord's, Regent's Park and London.

Love the smirk of Mohinder Amarnath in this shot taken after India's 1983 Cricket World Cup victory. (One-Day Format)
A sport so genteel it may be played in a top hat and bow tie.

Terrific action shot from the 2nd Centenary Test in 1980.
The touring Aussie team of 1878 looking like, well, ummm, convicts.

A typical cap worn by the England team during the 1930s. Baseball teams also wore short-brimmed caps in the early days. Cricketeers, such as current Aussie captain Ricky Ponting, still rock the short-brims today.
The suave Pakistani team of 1954. Or an ad for the many uses of Brylcreem.
The snazzy looking Australian team of 1921, well, save for the porker in the upper left.
The M.C.C. touring team of 1926, featuring the future Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home.
Baseball was played at Lord's in 1917 during the First World War.
This is W.G. Grace in a painting from 1890, who played from 1865 until 1908 and is considered one of the all-time greats. Grace dominated with both the bat and the ball as did Babe Ruth in this early career. Save for the beard a helmet and a sponsor's logo on the shirt, he would not look out of place in the crease today.
By 1880, the county cricket clubs around England had developed their own distinct identities, as seen in this drawing from 1880.
Here is an early drawing of one of the first All-England teams from the 1830's. From the start the sport was played in all-whites, a tradition that continues only in Test cricket today.
Here we see the interlocking letters of the Marylebone Cricket Club, in their "bacon-and-egg" colors. The club was responsible for codifying the laws of cricket and are the original inhabitants of Lord's and the keeper of the Ashes.

The three remaining tests may be followed by reading the over-by-over report at the Guardian, listening to BBC Radio, or viewing live streams through various shady web sites. American cricket is covered well at, and has done a bang-up job covering the Ashes through posts and podcasts.