Beyond Golf — 24 November 2012 by Jim Street
Rules of cricket are quite simple

PASADENA – The Thanksgiving holiday comes with all the trimmings, including a plate full of turkey and a glutton of televised college and professional football games.

Our trip to Pasadena not only included a round of golf with my son, his lawyer buddy Devon, and LPGA teaching pro Margie Chamberlain at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, but Saturday’s Pac-12 game football between the Bruins of UCLA and the Stanford Cardinal at the Rose Bowl.

As for the golf portion of the trip, I did not break 80 for the 40th or so time this year and I am running out of time. One of my goals this year was to shoot 79 or lower for the first time in my life. I might have to use my foot wedge a few times next month in Florida to shatter 80.

Another highlight of the trip was visiting with my daughter-in-law’s dad, Ken Allardyce, for the first time since my son Scott and Emily were married in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 25, 2011. He and his wife, Maggie, won the distance-travled award, coming to Pasadena from Nairn, Scotland. Ken is, shall we say, a character. He toured with the British rock band “Supertramp” for many years and the stories he has are priceless.

For full-blooded Americans, nothing beats a good athletic event – football, baseball, golf or whatever. Ken is a huge cricket fan and he explained that while this is a time of year in our country for championships to be determined in college football, it also an important time for cricket. The UK is playing a key match against India this weekend.

Cricket is not a huge sport in the U.S. and therefore, I am among the many Americans who are not familiar with the rules. I am clueless to put it mildly. I suggested to Ken that cricket “seems” similar to baseball. There is a pitcher, and batter, bases and fielders.

He said some cricket matches can last as long as five days and after all that end in a tie. My mind raced. Can you imagine the Mariners playing the Astros next season in a game that lasts five days? Neither can I.

I asked him to explain the game of cricket to me to the best of his ability.

This is what he said:

“You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

“When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.

There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

“When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.”

I thanked him very much . . .and had another glass of wine.

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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