This is the first in what I hope will be a short series tentatively entitled "Sporting Events That Americans Probably Don’t Know About" and today I’ll be looking at competitive chicken painting in Namibia (I am of course joking, Namibian chicken painting will be later in the series).
Today’s topic is in fact the Bodyline cricket series between England and Australia.
Given the two countries political histories (we populated Australia with convicts, they have since sent us a steady supply of people to work in pubs) these games were always the most keenly fought of cricketing contests (this title has since been usurped by the regular India versus Pakistan games which are essentially a nuclear war waiting to happen).
In 1932 the England cricket team traveled to Australia to compete for the "Ashes" which is the trophy that goes to the winning team. At the time the Australian’s had one huge advantage in the figure of Donald Bradman, the greatest player in the history of the game, the Babe Ruth of cricket, and the England Captain Douglas Jardine knew that the only way to win the series was to eliminate the threat of Bradman. In response he developed what became known as Bodyline.
Essentially the tactic was to aim the ball as quickly and accurately as possible at the batsman’s heart or head (this is in the days before any kind of padding or helmets) and thus force him into a defensive shot that would get him caught by a series of fielders who were positioned close to the bat. The Australian public who were initially angered by the tactic, became outraged when one of their players (Bert Oldfield) suffered a fractured skull.
The 5 game series nearly came to an end after game 3 when a riot was narrowly avoided and the Australian Cricket Board sent a telegram to the English Cricket Board complaining of "unsportsmanlike behavior" by the English team.
The English public (who had no way of seeing the tactics) reacted with anger to these accusations, as did Jardine who threatened to pull his team from the rest of the tour. The situation was only resolved by the intervention of Australian Prime Minister Jospeh Lyons who advised his cricket board that any possible boycotting of Australian goods by the British public would be catastrophic for the Australian economy. The charges were withdrawn, Bradman was neutralised, and England won the series 4-1.
The following year the rules of Cricket were changed to allow umpires to intervene if they felt that bowlers were deliberately attempting to injure a batsman.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries remained strained until the outbreak of the Second World War, and sporting relations have never fully recovered.
I was going to write about how Roger Clemens has become a metaphor for George Bush’s America; with his belief that because he has done some good things he is incapable of doing wrong, and his almost pathological confidence in his own virtue.
However there are more important things afoot, with the re-arrival of Alyssa Milano to the MLBlogs community. Those of you who are new to the Blogosphere should know that Alyssa is the foremost blogger on baseball (possibly in the world).
I urge you to visit her site for yourselves but here is just a taste of some of the issues that she raised;
She has a new puppy called Gibson.
She been promoting her "Touch" range of clothing at all of the major sporting events.
She has been promoting her new movie "Wisegal" and her slow to reach the theaters "Pathology".
She is learning to crochet.
She also has an interesting take on the possibility that there is a picture of Roger Clemens at that party, she opines that; "Wow. That’s some bad news for Clemens." (maybe if some other bloggers on this site came up with that kind of insight they too would feature prominently on the main page).
But it’s not just Alyssa who provides a wealth of knowledge about the game, her comments board is also the best that there is. Here’s a selection;
"I guess this info is too late, but…I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t buy puppies from pet stores because they are supplied by puppy mills. I know that sounds pretty generic but its just what I’ve heard" (yes, that information is too late).
"It’s great you saved a dog from the pet store! I believe everyone should save a dog." ( a differing point of view on the subject of puppy mills).
"Alyssa, she learnt how to crochet
She knitted and knotted really posh..hey
But as she grew older she got brassier and bolder
So she knitted the president a jumper…touche" (It is believed that Barack Obama is already planning to use this in a speech).
"I can’t wait to see Wisegal and Pathology!!!! I’ve seen the trailers and they look SUPER – CALIFRAGILISTIC – EXPIALIDOCIOUS hahaha Hopefully me and my fellow British Alyssa fans won’t have to wait too long to see Pathology ‘cause we are all dying to see it." (Indeed we are).
"Hi Alyssa I have to admit most of what you said it way over my head." (????)
"What are your thoughts about the $350M recently committed by the President toward combating NTD’s in the underdeveloped world? It’s considerably short of the $1B necessary to solve the problem but a clear improvement over the trite $15M of the past." (I look forward to Alyssa’s answer).
"Just wanna say as a UK fan of MLB I think MLB.TV is awesome and your blog is quite unique never seen anything like this in Europe for the major sports over here. Thanks." (Once again a Brit makes a pertinent point)
As for going to the NHL All-Star Game, NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl, you were not cheating on Baseball. The analogy is that when your true love is away from home for a few months, you embrace and spend time with some old friends, awaiting the return of your true love. (Hmmm, that sounds an awful lot like cheating to me).
"When I found out you liked hockey too, I fell in love with you. If your looking to get married let me know." (Could this be the first MLBlogs wedding?).
Today’s song is this.
One of the joys of MLBlogs is the ability to read other people’s views on various topics and to post your own comment on their blog. Naturally the reason we do this is to provide a link to our own site and thus ensure that people read what we have to say.That’s why I’m taking this opportunity to provide you with some handy phrases that will guarantee that the average reader will click on the link that you have so thoughtfully provided. Feel free to print this off and use it whenever necessary;
"Hey Alyssa! I’ve posted a new video of you on my blog! It’s in night vision!"
"Hey! My blog has got the photo of Roger Clemens at THAT party! And he’s dancing with Brian McNamee!"
"Hey Yankee’s fans! It’d be great to see your plucky little team give the Red Sox a run for their money this year!"
"Hey! My blog reveals why the Mets are forcing Johan Santana to convert to Judaism!"
"Hey! My blog has a photo of Derek Jeter f***ing a ho*se!! ( of course the actual picture of Derek Jeter finding a house to live in during Spring Training won’t be that exciting, but the asterisks will create interest).
"Hey Harold! I’ve posted a new video of you on my blog! It’s in night vision!"
You will see that the main lesson to be learned from this is to begin each comment with the word "Hey!" this conveys to the reader that you have something exciting to say. The trick then is to either anger,confuse, or give the impression that you are pedaling some distinctly dodgy video.
Today’s song is this.
Of course it’s way too early to tell which way the country will go from here but there have been many articles suggesting that this is a great opportunity for Major League Teams to start signing up all that Cuban talent they’ve been lusting after for so long.
The real opportunity however is for MLB to do some good (I know, I know) and expand the game at the same time. Cuba is a desperately poor country and any injection of cash would be welcome. There is an ideal opportunity for exhibition games to be played in Havana and also a similar set up that occurred with the Expo’s in San Juan (if only there were a team in Florida that didn’t great attendance figures).
Eventually a Major League franchise based in Cuba seems almost inevitable assuming that there is an opening up of trade and tourism ( obviously we people from the rest of the world have been traveling to Cuba for years without succumbing to a fervent desire for Communism) but it would be nice if MLB didn’t view this as solely a chance to syphon off all the best talent out of the country and came up with some ways to put something back. But as they say in Vegas "What are the odds?".
Todays song is this.
I am pleased to announce that since moving to Canada "Arizona Via Slough" has become the third most recognized brand name in the world (behind "Coca Cola" and "al- qaeda"). That’s why I’m offering you this unique opportunity to get on board and potentially earn millions of dollars (approximately one thousand euros).
The start of Spring Training is the ideal time to begin raking in the cash from your own MLB Blog, and no blog attracts a wealthier consumer base than "Arizona Via Slough". All you need to do is simply send me your credit card details and I will deduct the appropriate amount (it really is that easy!!). Within weeks you will receive all the information you need to create you own money spinning blog.
But that’s not all!!
You will also receive my very own, easy to follow,guide on how to consistently produce a blog in the tried and tested "Arizona Via Slough" tradition.Including tips such as these;
1) Always make a cursory reference to the D-Backs or baseball, this gives the reader the illusion that you have knowledge of the sport.
2) Make occasional references to popular culture such as TV shows, movies or music. This creates the impression that you have tapped into the zeitgeist.
3) Use words like "zeitgeist" even though you don’t know what they mean (remember most readers of these blogs are idiots and won’t be able to spot a word used out of context).
4) Make sarcastic comments about celebrities (especially celebrities who blog on MLB). This offer also comes with my patented cut and paste "How To Mock Alyssa Milano" kit.
5) Type the phrase "list of clever people" into Google. Print it out and drop one of these names into every blog. This idea was first suggested by my reading of the works of Arthur Schopenhauer.
Don’t delay!! And don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!! Remember all I need is your credit card details.I will do the rest!!
Today’s song is this.
But of course the real tragedy is the players who never made it to the Majors, but maybe could have done if they had bent the rules in the same way as the "superstars" did. It would be nice to think that the players who stayed clean sleep well at night, but your family’s security is a **** of a thing to fore go for the sake of doing the right thing.
I assume that MLB and the players union will issue an apology to all these players for the money that they have lost.
Today’s song is this.
Congratulations are due to Roger Clemens, who today bravely decided to denounce his wife in front of Congress. It has now become clear that Mrs Clemens had been using illegal substances with the help of a certain Brian McNamee. All of this happened without Mr Clemens’ having any knowledge of these events! Well today he struck a blow for the little guy and put the record straight. Never again will the wives of top athletes feel safe in deceiving both their husbands and the general public in this shameful manner.
Kudos also to "Saint" Andy Pettite who rightfully received fulsome praise for his character and integrity from everybody present at today’s hearing.For those of you who don’t know the story, Mr Pettite took illegal performance enhancing drugs for years, then lied about it. He was subsequently forced to admit to his crime under penalty of going to prison. He truly is a role model for us all.
Finally a quick quiz question, Who said;
"If I am guilty of anything, it is being too nice."
A) Mahatma Ghandi
B) The Dalai Lama
C) Roger Clemens
Today’s song is this.
Given that I’m the kind of person that can’t locate a receipt within two minutes of leaving a store I can’t help but be impressed by the fact that Roger Clemens’ managed to retain a receipt from a game of golf he played in 1998 ( I also didn’t realize that rounds of golf could be exchanged if you weren’t happy with them).
But it does seem that both he and McNamee were pretty much hoarding everything from those days (didn’t McNamee’s wife get annoyed at having Roger Clemens’ blood in the cellar?) and it has now become clear that the only reason Roger prolonged his career for as long as he did was to pay for, what must have been, extortionately high storage costs.
I remain convinced that both men are telling the truth and will be vindicated by history.
Today’s song is this.
The FA Premier League (soccer) announced today that the league intends to play a series of official games in a variety of countries in 2011. In keeping with the spirit of international co-operation it also announced that it intends these games to go to the highest bidding cities.
Supporters groups have voiced opposition to the plans but I suspect that money talks louder than words and the plan will become reality.
Given that MLB is increasingly playing games abroad, and the NFL seems to want to establish a regular game in London it seems to me that we are only a few years away from having a group of international (multi-national?) leagues that span the globe irrespective of national boundaries or time-zones. It is not for someone as humble as me to say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing (it’s actually both).
Today’s song is this.
First of all let me say that the whole idea for this entry is taken from Kelly over at Hook, Line Drive and Sinker but I see MLBlogs as a community, and by "community" I mean "people that I can steal from".
Anyway, Kelly’s main issue is that the pre-season promotion for the Marlin’s focuses more on off-field activities (concerts,cheerleaders,and free gifts) than the on-field activities (injuries,errors, and blown saves). Coincidentally the Vancouver Canadians chose a similar time to introduce their new GM Andrew Seymour. Here are some direct quotes from is profile;
"his background is all about F-U-N"
"Seymour has an eccentric and whacky style"
"Seymour has trotted out nights like Mike Tyson ear night where fans each got a plastic ear that had a bite taken out of it, and Bobble Butt night"
"Seymour has the unique ability to push the boundaries"
"fans will be taken on a wild and exciting ride"
I can think of nothing worse. I could point out that to be completely accurate it should be "Evander Holyfield ear night", or that one definition of "whacky" is mentally irregular, but suffice to say that whilst Seymour spells it F-U-N, I simply spell it F-U.
Today’s song is this.