Category Archives: Baseball – General

05-28-11 Padres 2 Nationals 1

Meh. Yet another one run loss, but I photographed it, so here you go.

Scoresheet of 2011 Opening Day reveals odd phenomenon

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.

Let’s Do The Time Warp

In 1971 the Washington Senators jumped to the left and landed in Texas, a 40 year anniversary of heartbreak to solemnly acknowledge next year. With a step to the right, the Expos landed in DC in 2005. Pardon the odd analogy, I’m on a Rocky Horror kick lately. That group that stepped to the left is going to the World Series this year and the latest incarnation hasn’t sniffed the opportunity yet. Maybe in just seven days (years), they can be made a man (another ‘Rocky Horror’ reference for those that didn’t make sense to). Yet despite having a hometown team again, fans are split on allegiances to the former Senators and rooting for the underdog Rangers.

To me I think “How exciting are these playoffs?” The Rangers (former Senators) clinched a World Series spot last night in game six against the NY Yankees. The opportunity to clinch presented itself in New York Thursday night in what could have been an epic game, but the epic game had to wait until they returned to Arlington, Texas, where they clinched at home to antler waving fans last night. Antler waving? Yes, antler waving. I don’t really get it either. The whole thing is re-sparking controversy here at home, however.

Unwritten Rules

More ink has been spilled in writing about the Book of Unwritten Rules than in writing the book itself. And half that ink was spilled in the last month in articles criticizing Nyjer Morgan for breaking those rules. After Nyjer Morgan was thrown behind in that fateful Marlins game on September 1st leading up to the “clotheslined” brawl and Morgan’s eight game suspension, the Marlins players were quoted as saying Morgan broke “unwritten rules”. Hmmm, maybe somebody should write these down, right? Well, it turns out many somebodies have and most have been compiled in a book aptly named “The Unwritten Rules Of Baseball“. So I hit the book to find out what rules the Marlins believed Nyjer broke and learn more about these superstitions, rituals and mysterious guiding laws not found in the official rule book.

“Don’t steal a base or bunt when your team has a big lead late in a game.”

[Read more on…]

Bullpen Rituals

Since I’m waiting for a bit of (extremely cool and voluntary) editorial process on my next post, I thought it’d be fun to share a couple of neat tidbits I picked up while talking to Drew Storen and Collin Balester for the upcoming story. I guess this is my version of “Didn’t Make The Paper” errr media site, as the case may be. We were talking about unwritten rules, superstitions and rituals. For example, I’ve noticed that the pitcher always walks off the mound to the dugout after an inning, but the fielders all run/jog off. What’s up with that? Apparently some unwritten rules are so ingrained in ritual that players aren’t even aware of why they’re there or where they originated.

Storen: “Oh yeah, I don’t know. Some guys run, like Cliff Lee – it doesn’t really matter. I think it’s more a fatigue thing for starting pitchers. I ran off the mound in college but not here. I’d feel weird…” [Read more at]