I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who always needs to have a project. Correction: I always need to have a new project. Whether it’s redecorating my room or organizing my CD collection (okay, okay, my iTunes), I can throw myself wholeheartedly into just about anything… for a few hours, that is. So when I chose to devote spring 2011 to learning the art of scoring a baseball game, let’s just say it didn’t last long. I pulled up the webpages and glossaries of common abbreviations, and decided after about ten minutes that I could wing whatever I hadn’t already absorbed on my own.
Unfortunately, “winging it” really isn’t the best approach to scoring a very by-the-book game. First, you have to remember the number of each position on the field. Then there are all the ways you can get on base, from singles and home runs to walks and force outs and getting hit by pitches. And of course, there is the myriad of ways you can get an out, including fly outs, groundouts, pop-ups, and double plays. Add to this the task of recording where each third out ends up, the path it takes across the field, which players are pinch-hitting, which ones switch positions halfway through the game… if your head’s not spinning by now, it should be.
About a month into my first unsuccessful attempts, I found my new best friend: the website Kickstarter. It’s full of people with great ideas, and one great baseball-themed idea called the Eephus League Baseball Scorebook Revival Project. Scorekeeping just doesn’t get any easier than this. It’s a pocket-sized scorebook manageable enough for games at the ballpark, but detailed enough that you can record pitching stats, home and away MVPs, and what you ate for lunch. And if you’re a kid at heart, as I am, you’ll probably even appreciate the win-loss stickers that come in the back of the book.
I was so excited after receiving my scorebook that I spent the entire month of May cataloguing games. It didn’t matter if the game was on TV, MLB’s online network, or even Gameday; if there was a Giants game that day, it was going into the scorebook. A bit obsessive, yes, but it was a fun way to get myself to really pay attention to everything–absolutely everything–that happens during a game. But more on that next time: for now, check out Eephus League’s website and support their awesome baseball projects!