With the kick-off of a new season (I’ll get to my “Yay! Opening Day!” post when I recover from road rage and frozen numbness), it seems as good a time as any to revisit my baseball scoring system, since I know there are geeks out there who dig this kind of thing (you know who you are!). It’s fun to review this every now and then as my system has morphed from season to season. This year I’ve moved off my own printed template and bound book into a plain old graphing paper notebook. Why? No eureka moment informed me graphing paper would be ideal. I had nothing with me when I went to spring training and picked this little baby up at Target since programs at the ballpark were $5 and I hate those scorecards. Besides, hey, it seems to work great for me!
First let me explain my system so this makes sense because it’s pretty non-traditional. I like to see the players’ at bats straight across without the uneven spacing of innings, so I put every at bat next to the lineup on the first page. Now, this does mean I duplicate writing down every at bat (also in play-by-play), but I don’t mind. The second page has the typical play by play in non-typical fashion. I score both teams side-by-side so I can see who had the bigger better inning. The flow also works better for me while captioning photos as I don’t have to flip a scoresheet over and back and can see a full inning in one glance.
Scoring today’s mostly yawn-worthy boring and uneventful (other than a Heyward homerun) game showed a couple odd things that really stuck out to me after using this system for years. If you click to enlarge the third picture below, look at how both the Nats and Braves did inning by inning. You’ll see I use lineup number rather than jersey number (again, easier for me to track the game). Now look at innings one through six. Everyone on Twitter lauded Livo for getting 15 consecutive outs. He fared no better than Braves’ starter Lowe, because as you can see the exact same number of batters came to the plate until Lowe walked Zimmerman in the 6th. I have never ever in my years of scoring seen 5 innings match up batter to batter perfectly like that. I thought it was blown in the 4th after Ankiel walked, but when he was caught stealing with Espinosa up to bat, the match-up continued. Totally mind-blowingly weird!
I also use one column to record outs and one to denote runners on the basepaths. As you can see, the basepaths columns on both sides are rather sparse. This means the game was really boring. Another oddity is usually the game will spill over to the next page by the 8th inning. This is the first game I’ve ever crammed onto one single page. Essentially, neither team sent enough batters to the plate to cause the game to continue on the other side. Boring! I’m pretty sure that’s a first as well.
The pink highlighted lines are pitching changes – again marked both in the play-by-play (where I write the relief pitcher’s name in the margin) and on the stats page. I also star or write commentary next to plays or at-bats that I think I snapped good photos of or want to write about later. Plenty of room for that, unlike your typical scoresheet. For example, Next to where Clippard entered the game in the 7th, you can see I wrote to the right, “not peaches – lame”. Meaning, he did not enter to Peaches and the song he did (which I didn’t recognize) sounded really lame. There, I covered that note.
Enjoy the photos. If you want to look at them really large in their original glory, I also posted them on Flickr.