Manny Ramirez has faced some tough pitchers in MLB, but today he encountered a challenge of a different kind at Nichols Park in Gilbert, Ariz., home to the Arizona Cricket Club. Ramirez was swinging at googlies and grubbers instead of split-finger fast balls in his debut as a cricket batsman to promote DIRECTVâ€™s exclusive CricketTicket Service. Ramirez hit five of eight pitches from the bowler, including a rocket shot that dispersed a crowd standing behind the bowler.
â€śI have faced some tough pitchers before, but we donâ€™t have to ever swing at a bouncing ball that is rising as it passes us,â€ť said Ramirez, who was coached at the event by Australian cricketer ShaunÂ Marsh. â€śShaun is a great hitter and he gave me some great pointers. I hadnâ€™t watched much cricket in the past, but the game is a lot like baseball. Shaun said I definitely have a future in the game.â€ť
Marsh, just 25, is one of the finest young batsmen in Australia and has played for such fabled clubs as Kings XI Punjab and Western Australia. An Australia A representative, Marsh made his first-class debut in 2000-01, and was also part of the Australia Under-19 squad that won the World Cup in 2002.
â€śI am honored to be the one player in the entire world of cricket selected to give Manny some pointers today,â€ť said Marsh. â€śI thoroughly enjoyed coming to the United States and being able to spend some time sharing my passion for the sport with someone who is just as passionate about his sport as Manny is. Maybe he can return the favor next Spring.â€ť
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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