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 him 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 early part of the 20th century (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. The book paints a two-sided portrait of sports' most illustrious "hitting games". Written with the passion and sympathy of a genuine fan, it contains the behind-the-scenes insights of a professional player.
Ed Smith is one of England's most promising cricketers, the youngest batsman to score a century on his debut (aged 18 for Cambridge University v Glamorgan). He has written columns for the Sunday Telegraph and The Times.