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One of the real world series: The Ashes 2006-7

We’ve just sent out the first galley proofs of Global Perspectives on the United States to the major reviewers, and more will be going out next week while the indexing and corrections are finished. I’m in England now, celebrating Thanksgiving Day with fish and chips, and trying to figure out how to catch a bit of the first match in The Ashes, the cricket competition between Australia and England. It’s shown from midnight to about nine in the morning, not exactly prime viewing time. But the BBC has a spectacular website with all kinds of educational stuff, too, which got me to wondering if there are English people who need an explanation of “LBW.” I know what it means: Leg Before Wicket. And I know what a wicket is, and how the game is played. During my years in England, I watched dozens of league cricket matches and the guys liked nothing better than to explain the game, but the finer points I used to know, and the slang, have definitely faded in memory.

What I do remember is how global perspectives came into the talk about sports. The cricketers could not understand why tough Americans wore so much padding for their football, and they thought baseball gloves were hilarious. A cricket ball is almost exactly the size and weight of a baseball, and cricketers use no gloves (except the wicket keeper–the catcher). No wonder they saw baseball as a bit wimpy. This made it even more ridiculous that Americans called their baseball championship the World Series.

Try the Cricket Academy if you want to learn what an LBW is. Oddly enough, the glossary doesn’t explain my favorite terms, googly and golden duck. Finally, here’s a history of The Ashes written by your humble correspondent and put online when England won last year: The first day this year went to Australia, 346 for 3 (90.0 overs). For you Americans, a quick explanation. 346 is the number of runs. 3 is the number of batters, out of 11, who are out. And an over is a kind of inning. The whole thing goes to 6 January 2007, with five five-day matches.

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