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For Those Keeping Score at Home

Dean Shutt

Hello all and welcome to the first back to back F&G of the new year. Kind of sad that it took until August/September, but those are the breaks. September is generally a good month for sports. Baseball has pennant races and the wild card heating up, football has returned in all its glory, hockey is just around the corner and for the three of you that still care, the NBA has a new season about to start.

As a sports columnist and junior pundit, it makes it hard to pick just the one topic to focus on with everything happening at once. It almost makes me wish we were a weekly so I could get to more of it for you. Then I realize that would entail me writing a column every week and that would seriously cut into my TV time and I come to my senses. So for now I guess we'll all have to live once a month, at least until I can figure out a way to get paid for this.

With that in mind, I am quite certain that you are all curious as to what major topic I am going to take on this month. My picks for the baseball postseason? Who I think will win it all in the NFL? How will my beloved Colts/Rangers/Red Sox do in their upcoming campaigns? Umm no, I'd rather talk about scoring baseball games.

For the first time in my life, I kept score at a baseball game. You know, the little book with all of the meaningless scribblings. You've seen the guys, usually a bit on the old side, attentively scratching away while you go for another beer. They've always fascinated me. I always wondered what the attraction was. I like baseball well enough, but I really couldn't see myself recording every out in my little book for posterity. It seemed kind of anti-slackerish to me, and yet, and yet, there was always a little part of me that thought, "You know, that looks like fun."

So the last game I attended, I had decided that I was going to give it a try. I had never done it and I really had no idea how it was done, but I figured the scorecard would have directions right? Wrong! It was completely useless from a novice's standpoint. It didn't even have a list of the position numbers. You know, the pitcher is 1, the catcher is 2 and so on. So I am pretty much screwed at this point. I have my pen (no pencil, cause I'm an idiot), I have my worse- than-useless scorecard, and the game is about to start. I scribbled down the starting lineups (cursing the lack of pencil) and wondered how the heck I was going to do this score-keeping thing.

Then play began and I just started doing it. Instead of using position numbers I used the two character abbreviations. The rest of it I just made up as I went along. You know what? By the second inning I was hooked. I wasn't just watching the game, I was involved in the game. When a guy came up with the bases loaded in the top of the 8th, I could glance at my scorecard and see not only was he 0 for 2, but that he had flown out to right both times. When he flew out to right yet again, I could smile smugly and say to myself, "Kinda figured he'd do that." It made me look at the game in a whole new way.

So I am going to show you all my scorecard from that game, along with a couple of rules that I came up with that I think are a lot simpler than the official scorekeeping rules. I invite all of you to give it a shot. Maybe in a few years we'll have bunches of us keeping score at games and then the old guys will wonder what the hell is right with the youth of today.

Dean's Scorecard
Click here to see Dean's scorecard


  • Strikeouts are K's, if they strikeout looking it is a backward K.
  • Walks are BB.
  • Any fly out is an F'. Put the letter next to the fielder that caught the fly.
  • Any ground out is a G. Again, put the G next to the infielder that made the play.
  • A home run is an HR, if men are on base, put the number of runs scored after the HR. (e.g. HR2 if one man is on.)
  • For hits, put the number of bases the batter gets next to the fielder that handled the ball. If the batter singled to left, put a 1 in left field.
  • Double plays are DP, with all of the players that handled the ball below (e.g. DP SS,2B,1B).
  • Track the progress of the men around the bases by putting dots on the appropriate bags.
  • For errors, put the E next to the fielder that made it, you can also write in the number of bases the error gave up. (e.g. An error on the shortstop that gave the runner first base would be an E1 over the shortstop's position)
  • Stolen bases are an S followed by the number of the base that was stolen. (e.g. stealing second base would be S2)
  • Wild pitches are WP and passed balls PB. You can also put the number of the base taken if the runner advances. (just like steals)

That's about all I came up with during my first foray into score-keeping. You can see by the scorecard it wasn't a really eventful game. I'm sure that I will have to make up more rules the more that I do it, but that's half the fun.

Dean's House of Pain Joy

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