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January 2018
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Wow. Just Wow.

So, last night, I went to another cricket game.  This one was a playoff game, between the New Jersey Fire and the Texas Arrowheads.

The New Jersey Fire earned a place in the ProCricket finals last night by beating the Texas Arrowheads in a match that went right down to the wire, in several senses.

New Jersey won the toss, and sent Texas in to bat first. Texas has had a reputation for strong batting, and lived up to it, scoring steadily at a rate of just over seven runs per over (including extras), while allowing New Jersey to take only five wickets. At the drinks break, Texas were 69/3; they finished their innings 146/5. FoW 1-60 (8 over), 2-66(9), 3-69(10), 4-119(16), 5-119(16).

In New Jersey's innings, Texas also showed their fielding and bowling strength, holding New Jersey to 57/4 through the drinks break (an average of under six per over), and making it look like Texas might dominate this match - but after the drinks break, the partnership of Singh and Abaszi exploded for 14 runs in the 11th over, and 18 more in the 12th, before New Jersey settled down to a steady (average) rate of seven runs per over for the next six overs, losing only two more wickets. In the 19th over, New Jersey exploded again for fifteen runs (though losing two more wickets), tying the score with one over remaining - and on the first ball, Anthony pushed it to the boundary, ending the game. New Jersey Fire 150/8. FoW 1-4(1), 2-14(3), 3-22(5), 4-53(10), 5-106(14), 6-121(17), 7-143(19), 8-146(19).

This was quite the exciting game, with Texas' Watamba (phonetic spelling, based on what I heard over the stadium PA - anyone who saw the game on PPV, feel free to correct spelling) and Nanji each making two spectacular catches to put out New Jersey batsmen, plus New Jersey's striking performance in the second half of their innings. Three times, close plays for possible runouts were undecidable by the umpires on the field; they ended up going to the replay for decisions - and even then, the decisions appeared difficult.

I was sitting in the stands before the game, and one of the ProCricket league people came over to me to say hello, and we got to chatting.  I'd mentioned that I'd been at every game played at the Staten Island stadium, and he seemed pretty happy to hear that.  He asked if I was on the ProCricket forums; I indicated that I was, and what username I used.  Which made another good impression on him, or so he indicated with some positive remarks about my contributions.

During the game, one of the TV people *also* recognized me, and sent one of their portable camera people over to interview me during the game, during which interview I explained how I'd gotten interested in cricket, and in ProCricket, and generally showed my (not at all faked!) enthusiasm (right in the middle of a great game, and no, I didn't miss any of the action - they were very careful about that).  I don't know whether it went out live, or into the can for later, or what - but who cares?  That sort of thing is tremendous egoboo - especially since Reuters interviewed me (taped or radio) at the previous game I'd been to.

After the game, I went up to the broadcast center on the left field deck of the stadium, where I'd seen the field umpires directing their requests for 'third umpire' replay analysis for some hard calls.  My purpose was to find out if the third umpire actually was up there; it turned into a 30-minute discussion, during which I met several of the network production crew and league officials.  I indicated my continued enthusiasm for cricket and for ProCricket, discussed ideas, got answers to questions, and learned some stuff that can only really be called 'inside information', although I don't imagine that they're concerned about keeping it secret - nevertheless, it's *their* information to make public or not, so I won't without explicit permission.

They also asked if I'd been to any of the New Jersey Fire home games at CommerceBank ballpark in Bridgewater NJ; I explained that it wasn't possible for me, logistically, because I am very uncomfortable driving at night, and taking the train home means I miss the last train out of Grand Central (and am thus stranded in the city for the night).  Well, it looks like I'm going to be going to the championship finals; they've guaranteed me a ride into the city in time to catch a train.

So, obviously, I've made a good impression as a fan.  Wow.  Just... Wow.

I'm feeling...: Euphoric

Muy cool! :-)

I would LOVE to see a US team in the World Cup, Or a Pacific Tri-Nations (Aus, NZ, USA) or even a US team touring here or an AUS team touring there. I'm certain it won't be long before there is enough of a base in the US to make a formidable national team.

Pity it's taken you blokes so long to wake up to how good the game is. :)

Well, I can't really say we've woken up yet. Most of the fans are (for lack of a better collective term) "desi-plus" (i.e., Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, West Indians, and apparently 'Ozzies and Kiwis' in the west); there isn't really much of a following yet among Americans whose heritage is outside the cricket community. While the enthusiasm is there, I think that ProCricket - similar to Twenty20 - is viewed as a side event to the main event of Test cricket. Part of that is publicity; while ProCricket has done more to publicise cricket in this country in the last four months than the ICC and USACA have done in the last forty years, it's still not enough, and I've discussed that with the league people, posted to the ProCricket forums, and will be putting it on paper to them. But ProCricket100/Twenty20 is probably the one form of cricket that can be the catalyst in this country, and I'm certainly in favor of it.

(For the record, I blame dmmaus; his cricket pages actually made the game understandable and interesting.)

Now, we've just gotta get you blokes turned on to baseball! :)

Oh we have a baseball competition, it's just not very big or professional.

I think a series of international One Day matches would be the go.