There is a one-day cricket match being played between England and Sri Lanka today in which an event took place that nicely illustrates some of the commonalities and differences between baseball and cricket.
What happened was that the English catcher, Jos Buttler, was out caught stealing. This is a very rare event in cricket. There are, after all, only two bases on a cricket pitch. The man in bat stands on one, and the pitcher runs past the other one on his way to delivery the ball. The non-striking batter has to be pretty daft to be caught off base when all that the pitcher has to do is stop and touch the stumps with the ball.
But this is cricket. It is a polite game. The assumption is that anyone who could be out caught stealing has left the base by accident, rather than because he’s trying to gain an advantage. It is therefore normal practice for the pitcher to give a warning first. This is what the Sri Lankan pitcher, Sachithra Senanayake, did. He stopped and said, “I say, old chap, you seem to have absent-mindedly wandered down the pitch. I could have put you out just then, you know. Please don’t do that again.” Or whatever the equivalent is in Sinhala.
As I said, you have to be pretty dim to get out like that, especially after you have been warned. However, Buttler was born in Darkest Somerset, not far from where I grew up. He did make the same mistake again, and this time was put out. The crowd didn’t like it, but the ex-players in the commentary team were adamant that is was his own stupid fault.