Offbeat March 18, 2009

Marsh swaps secrets with baseball hero


Shaun Marsh and Manny Ramirez take guard in Arizona © AP

It wasn't the same as when Babe Ruth met Don Bradman, or Shane Warne showed Michael Jordan his flipper, but Shaun Marsh has traded tips with the baseballer Manny Ramirez in Arizona. Marsh, the Australian one-day international, showed Ramirez, the LA Dodgers and former Boston Red Sox slugger, some of things needed to succeed as a batsman in the game Robin Williams called baseball on valium (see video).

"I have faced some tough pitchers before, but we don't have to ever swing at a bouncing ball that is rising as it passes us," Ramirez said after his short innings at the Arizona Cricket Club. "Shaun is a great hitter and he gave me some great pointers.” Marsh was impressed after his short coaching clinic and said “maybe he can return the favour next spring”.

There are a few similarities for Marsh and Ramirez: they are capable of launching balls out of stadiums and are both out with hamstring problems. The major difference between the pair is Ramirez has just signed a two-year contract with the Dodgers worth US$45m, dwarfing the US$30,000 Marsh earned playing for King’s XI Punjab in the inaugural Indian Premier League.

The television channel Directv, which will show the upcoming IPL in the United States, organised the get-together. Back in 1932 Bradman chatted to Ruth at a New York Yankees-White Sox game and in 1994 Warne caught up with Jordan.

Peter English is former Australasia editor of ESPNcricinfo