Nearly 80 years after Don Bradman had a meeting with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium, the cricket and baseball universes collided once more at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
By Peter Della Penna
Nearly 80 years after Don Bradman had a meeting with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium, the cricket and baseball universes collided once more at Sun Life Stadium in Miami as the New Zealand Black Caps paid a visit to the home turf of the Florida Marlins to have some fun and learn a little about each other’s sports.
Pic (Right): Tim Southee with Cody Ross [Courtesy: Robert Vigon]
“I’ve never been to this stadium or seen these guys play so it’s going to be exciting,” said New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris when interviewed on camera by a Palm Beach Post reporter during batting practice. “There’s a few, maybe two or three of our guys that enjoy baseball so they know who’s who, but it’s not really big [in New Zealand]. None of us have ever swung a bat before. It’s just not played in New Zealand.”
It’s the second game inside of a week that Black Caps players have attended after being knocked out of the World Twenty20 in the West Indies. Several players were present at Thursday night’s game between the Marlins and the New York Mets, which the Marlins won 2-1.
Monday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks was more special though as Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori and all-rounder Jacob Oram got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. On this occasion, the Marlins wound up losing 5-1.
However, it appears that the Marlins enjoyed their time before the game getting a little bit of cultural enrichment from their Kiwi guests. Reigning National League batting champion and two-time NL All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez padded up in some Black Caps kit to take a few slogs while pitcher Josh Johnson’s interest was piqued after finding out that cricket bowlers are allowed to aim at batsmen on purpose.
“I didn't know much about cricket before these guys came to visit, but I've got a good lesson now,” said Johnson in an article posted on the Miami Herald web site. “They're pretty cool.” The teams hung out and traded tips for about an hour and also exchanged autographed jerseys with each other.
This is not the first time the Black Caps have dealt with a professional baseball player on a first-hand basis. Former Black Caps fielding coach Travis Wilson was the first player from New Zealand to play in the minor leagues according to Baseball-Reference.com. Wilson was in the Atlanta Braves farm system from 1997-2003, getting as high as Triple-A Richmond. He then played for the Cincinnati Reds Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga for the 2004 season before heading back to New Zealand.
Pic(Left): Jacob Oram had Josh Johnson on his fantasy baseball team. Josh does not play fantasy cricket! [Courtesy: Robert Vigon]
New Zealand will be taking on Sri Lanka in the Pearls Cup this weekend at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. A pair of Twenty20 Internationals are scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday as part of a doubleheader on each day.
The other matchups will be a set of Twenty20 games between USA and Jamaica. USA will also be taking on Jamaica in a 50-over encounter on Friday.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1800-745-3000.