That Americans never say it’s not baseball‘ is a tribute to their honesty and good common sense. Sir Michael Parkinson In many ways, it is a tragedy that cricket is beyond the comprehension of Americans. At present, the game is losing contact with its audience and it needs a bit of American energy and business know-how to make it a going concern.
Generally speaking, it’s a great pity that the American influence is not more apparent in all our sports. What has always appealed to me about American sports is that the people who run them believe in making the customer comfortable and happy.
The facilities for American spectators are several centuries ahead of those offered in British sports stadiums. And I’m not just talking about unsuccessful sports that can’t afford to offer the spectator anything beyond the primitive. The most popular spectator sport in Britain is soccer, and yet supporters at many big clubs are expected to part with their hard-earned money for the privilege of standing on a concrete step in the pouring rain.
The refreshments offered to these hardy souls are a plastic cup of tea made from a recipe invented by the Borgias and the toilet facilities are of the kind that caused the Great Plague. By comparison, the American spectator at a sporting event is a cosseted, privileged individual. And so he should be. My dearest wish is that one day an American will buy Arsenal Football Club and show those rusty individuals who run British soccer just what can be done with a little drive and imagination.
I am not so certain that I want the Americans to purchase the Marylebone Cricket Club. Although that twitching corpse needs rejuvenation, it would mean that the Americans would begin to understand our national game. That might be so sad.