Despite the similarities between the two major sports, there’s no “grand salami time” in cricket, only in baseball.
In cricket there’s a “sticky wicket,” likely the biggest crossover term from the second-most-popular sport in the world, after soccer, estimated to have more than 2 billion fans. At least a dozen channels broadcast matches in India. In colloquial usage, “sticky wicket” means a difficult situation.
In cricket, it refers to a damp pitch that affects how the ball moves.
The pitch in this case is not a player throwing the ball, but a 22-yard-long rectangular area. The pitch is home to the bowler who throws the ball, the stumps (vertical sticks at either end, together called the wicket), the batsman and the wicketkeeper (similar to the catcher in baseball).
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A youth cricket camp has drawn participants from 7 to 13 years old to Redmond’s Marymoor Park this summer.
Sreekumar Nair is the coach. He flew in from Chennai, India, where he is head coach of the Super Kings junior program. He wears his team’s yellow jersey.
The Chennai Super Kings are in the Indian Premier League, their equivalent of major league baseball.
Vishwa Gaddamanugu, who organized the summer camp and invited Nair to coach it, wears the Super Kings’ blue practice jersey.
Each daily camp begins with stretching exercises, followed by running, then movements used in the game.
“On your toes. Try to touch the sky,” says Nair.
The notion of cricket being a team sport is stressed continuously.
“Help each other,” says Nair. “It’s not about you. More we, not more me.”
Every participant will practice each position skill.
They take turns being the bowler, batsman, wicketkeeper and fielder.
And when a batsman sends the ball beyond the farthest boundary, the kids leap and celebrate as if they’ve just won the World Series.
In cricket it’s a hit worth six runs, not just the four in baseball’s grand slam.
As the late Mariner announcer Dave Niehaus would say, “Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it’s grand salami time.”