Yeah... in the past that was not really a rule that was enforced at all. In the 1960s in particular there were several pitchers - Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson in particular - who built a large part of their reputation on the idea that they weren't afraid to throw at people. Nowadays, their antics would get them tossed out of games pretty quickly (and that's a good thing!) but even at that... it's a fact that right-handed hitters hit worse against right-handed pitchers than left-handed ones. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the curve ball looks like it's going to hit a same-handed batter before it dives back in over the plate. Really good curves are often called "knee buckling curves" because of the effect that they have on the morale of the batter.
In cricket, aiming for the line of the batsman is extremely frequent. The only restriction is that the umpire can tell a bowler to stop bowling bouncers (deliveries aimed at the batsman that rears up to at least the chest of the batsman) after a while, based on the skill of the batsman. Deliveries aimed at the legs and feet can be bowled ad infinitum, sometimes resulting in broken bones, especially since a batsman can get out if the ball hits his pads under certain circumstances.
The biggest difference between cricket and baseball that I see - and you can correct me if I'm wrong on this - is that cricket batsmen are a lot more defensively-minded than baseball hitters. In cricket, I think that if you knock down all three wickets the side's over or something, whereas in baseball it's three strikes you're out but a. those three strikes can come anywhere in the strike zone (or out of it if you can get the other guy to swing at a bad pitch... I remember the last ball in Randy Johnson's no-hitter with the Mariners was a rising fastball that wound up a good 2 feet out of the zone), and b. a strikeout is no worse than any other out, really. So you get a lot more high-risk, high-reward hitters in baseball than in cricket, which in turn means DINGERS.
Yes, that's the main difference. Cricket batsmen can, and, especially in the longest format, required to play defensively. They can even let a ball go past them, no worries. Their purpose is to protect the stumps, if they are hit, they are out (and the innings is over once 10 batsmen of the 11 are out). They can chose to hit, block or leave anything, and, what's also different from baseball, they can hit the ball anywhere, even flick it up to land well behind the wicket keeper (catcher). The amount of defensive/aggressive play depends on the batsman and the format. In 5-day test cricket, you'll see more defensive play, as it is based on attrition and endurance. In the shortest, T20 format, you'll see a lot of aggressive play, because there's no time for measured play, the innings is over in about 1,5-2 hours.
That's just a logical difference in the games, though, not any kind of talk of one game being better than the other one. Actually, talking to people not familiar with baseball IIRC the thing that really wows them isn't the tricky pitches (which are hard to pick up unless you know what you're looking for) or the massive clouts (which do happen in cricket, albeit not as often) but the acrobatic plays by the fielders, leaping onto the outfield wall to rob a hitter of a home run or diving deep into the hole at shortstop, getting up, and throwing a strike to first base before the baffled hitter can get there himself.
Well, people not familiar with cricket aren't really wowed by anything, because most of the time they have no clue what's happening, so there's another difference
There are plenty of amazing deliveries, hits and acrobatic fielding, but they are spread over a long period of relative inactivity. At least it seems like that if you don't know exactly what's going on.
I appreciate that you enjoy cricket but please can the superiority arguments until you actually learn things about baseball.I wasn't making a superiority argument, I was just pointing out a scary quirk. If you go back and read what I've been writing, I was saying that when it comes to individual skill, the two games are roughly equal, with the exception of fielding.
Okay, sorry then. I admit to being a little charged about this from getting into arguments in the past with English folk re: the relative merits of rugby and American football (supposedly rugby is "more brutal" and therefore better because of the lack of pads protecting guys from breaking their collarbones when they ram into people at full speed... but I digress).
No probs. Such arguments can get especially grating.