It’s all in the game

I flicked on the radio in the kitchen last night as I was cleaning up after our barbecue and I thought I’d managed to re-tune it to the World Service because the gravel voiced commentator was speaking in Croatian or Gujarati or something equally alien to me.

But as I scrubbed at the grill and I listened closer, I began to recognise an odd word here and there and it dawned on me that this wasn’t a foreign language station. It was English I was listening to.

The problem was that the harder I listened, the less I understood. The man at the mic was saying things like:

First big hop to Kuchman who retreated to get the hop and underhands to Cobb the pitcher.

Right hander brings it in and crowds Sebelis ball one.

Cobb last year at Montgomery seven and five with an ERA of two point seven. That ERA good enough for fourth in the southern league.

What I was listening to was the Royals versus the Rays major league baseball game, but it might well have been Kabaddi for all the sense it made to me and I wondered what on earth it was doing on the BBC.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a moan about the jargon of baseball commentary. I’m sure it makes perfect sense to someone who understands the game and the reason I was tuned to Five Live Extra was to listen to the England and India test match  which I’m certain would have been equally baffling to someone who hasn’t watched cricket.

But why put baseball on the BBC? Can there be that many people in the UK who are interested in the game to make up an audience?

And even if there were the odd few hundred keen to tune in, can the BBC justify the cost of covering the sport?

Just thought I’d ask.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • rog 25th July 2011

    Funny stuff. Yeah, cricket DOES sound the same to me.

  • Reader Wil 25th July 2011

    You are absolutely right: some English is all Greek to me too, like Shakespeare said in “Julius Caesar”. It makes me feel less stupid since I notice that a native speaker cannot understand this kind of speech either.

  • Yorkshire Pudding 26th July 2011

    On behalf of the BBC and in response to your mischievous questions may I just say Rhubarb! Rhubarb! Rhubarb! And get yourself a baseball bat in case the droogs call round!

  • rhymeswithplague 26th July 2011

    I’d rather watch baseball than any other sport I know, mainly because there is time to have a conversation with someone between the plays, there’s no constant roaring as in football or rugby or soccer, the players don’t get all out of breath and sweaty with all the running, it’s gentlemanly and sportsmanlike in a rugged sort of way with only a few all out brawls per season, and those are only a few of the reasons. Bravo to the BBC! Bravo! Bravo! And a couple of Huzzahs!

  • Mr Parrot 26th July 2011

    One of the things that struck me about the baseball commentary was how quiet it was, hardly a crowd noise at all, just an occasional upscale on an organ. He might have been reading the weather forecast.

    But if it is peace an quiet you want, you can’t beat a county cricket match on an overcast Thursday afternoon!


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