Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the Love of the Game: Scorecards

 

I love baseball. It’s been berry berry good to me (thanks Chico Escuela/Garrett Morris). One of the best things about baseball is the fact the nuances, the traditions, the quirks, the little things if you will. In order to get a couple more posts (seriously, as much as I’d like to talk about Auburn baseball all the time, I have to find other things to write about) I’ll profile some of those little things here.

First up is my favorite. The scorecard. Most people knock baseball saying it’s “boring”, “slow”, “dull”. But to be truthful, there is ALWAYS something going on during a baseball game, you just have to notice it. One of the best ways to notice it, is to follow along with a scorecard. It’s an enjoyable way to keep up with game, follow along, and mainly just to stay informed.

Now there are official scorekeepers for every game who follow a strict set of rules. These guys are the ones who will actually rule an error, a hit, etc. So normally, during a game, if an error occurs, you’ll see fans keeping score looking up at the board to see what the official ruling is. Other than that, and outside of the basics, keeping a scorecard is something individual. Everybody has different styles, different symbols, and different ways of keeping score. It’s all up to you. This is just how I keep score.

Scorecards come in a variety of styles. Some people use scorebooks (which can be bought at Sporting Goods stores) and keep a book for an entire season, some make their own. Microsoft even has a template here that can be used. Personally, I just use the cheap $1 Scorecards that can be bought at the Auburn games (you’ll usually see Mr. Campbell walking up and down the stands with him). They are simple, clean, nice cardstock, and durable. Yes, it’s an extra dollar at every game, but it’s all for fun and, again, it’s just a buck.

THE BASICS

First thing you need to know is that all the defensive players in baseball are assigned a number 1-9 that corresponds to their position on the diamond.

MY STYLE:

Some scorecards already have the “diamond” on the scorecard. The Auburn Scorecard doesn’t. It just have a little blank square. Since I use the Auburn cards more often than not, my style is reflective of the “blank canvas”. So each square is divided like this :

A SINGLE
B DOUBLE
C TRIPLE
D HOMERUN
E RBIs
F Number of Pitches
G Location of Hit
H Number of Ball
I Number of Strikes
J Foul Tally

 

So, a completed “square” might look like this:

On this play, the batter hit a double, scoring two runs. He connected on a 2-2 count, but the pitcher pitched a total of 8 pitches (2 balls, 2 strikes, 3 fouls, plus the hit itself). The double was hit into left field (the “7” listed in the bottom right corner).

 

 

 

Now this is just a for a hit. There are other ways to reach bases. I usually code them like this:

 

Outs made in the field are listed along with the actions on the play. Popups (infield hits), Flyouts (outfield hits), Line drives, and Unassisted plays. So, for example, A line out to the Shortstop would be listed as L6 in the box; A hit to the First baseman that he takes himself would be 3U; and a hit that is fielded by the Third Baseman who throws over to first would be 5-3 in the box. Double plays are the same way, with just a “DP” notation underneath. Again, for example a double play that is fielded by the Shortstop, who throws to second, who then throws to first would be 6-4-3 with a DP written underneath.

Personally, I also like to note whether the batter is a Lefty or Righty. I just put a little “L” or “R” next to their name on the scorecard.

Put it all together and it looks like this (from Saturday’s game against Vandy):

Also, you might wonder why I keep track of the number of pitches? On the other side of the scorecard there is a little section to track the pitchers progress in the game:

So there you have it. My scorecard style. Broken down. Like I said however, everybody has a different way. They can be as personal and impersonal as this guy’s scorecard from a Cubs/D’backs game:

The main thing is have fun, enjoy the game, and make it your own.

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