* Uniquely informed insider's account of the cultural comparisons between cricket and baseball by a writer who has played at the highest level.
PLAYING HARD BALL is a unique sports book, a cultural comparison of two national games - cricket, English in origin and American baseball - written from the viewpoint of a top-class practitioner of both codes. Ed Smith - the young Cambridge University and Kent batsman - has spent the winters since 1998 in Spring Training with the New York Mets baseball team. It has enabled Ed to contrast and compare arguably the two most iconic of sports from the inside. In fact, baseball had a thriving following in Britain until the Great War: Derby County's former stadium was called the Baseball Ground; Tottenham Hotspur was at first a baseball club. Apart from learning two very different techniques, Ed learned that the sports' ultimate heroes, the Babe and the Don - Babe Ruth and Don Bradman - might as well have come from different planets, whilst baseball's pristine Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is a far cry from the ramshackle cricket museum at Lord's. Ed Smith's PLAYING HARD BALL draws on these intriguing comparisons to paint a two-sided portrait of sports most illustrous 'hitting games'.
'Original engrossing lucid and informative' Christopher Martin-Jenkins, THE TIMES
'Quite simply it is brilliant' THE CRICKETER
'Ed Smith is superb on analysing the different techniques involved in the two activities. He also writes with great insight excellent on the social and historical contexts of both baseball and cricket.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
'An instructive and entertaining book, full of insights.' DAILY TELEGRAPH
'A penetrating book written with the command of a professional sportsman.' DAILY MAIL
'The road to enlightenment is an entertaining one It proceeds via autobiography, travelogue, and sporting anthropology with plenty of good stories along the way. INDEPENDENT
Original...engrossing...lucid and informative - Christopher Martin-Jenkins, THE TIMES
Quite simply it is brilliant - THE CRICKETER