Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Art of Keeping Score

One of my favorite things about watching baseball is the ability to keep score. A good scorecard can reveal much to a baseball fan that is not obvious to the casual observer of the game. ESPN's Jim Caple has this to say on scoring:

You can keep score in sports such as basketball, bowling or golf, but it amounts to little more than marking down numbers. There is no creativity involved. Scorekeeping in baseball, however, is an art form, individual expression that makes you feel you are part of the game. It personally and precisely records every moment of the game, allowing you to replay and relive it forever.
This is the thing I love most about scorekeeping. I can look back in my scorebook and relive games that I watched years ago. It becomes a lasting memory of the game we have just witnessed.

For the uninitiated, scorekeeping might seem to be a little daunting. A good place to start is with this tutorial. Then I would also recommend reading Paul Dickson's excellent book The Joy of Keeping Score. Finally, you'll need a good scorebook. The Eephus League Halfliner is the best scorebook I have found. I have the smaller version of the scorebook but plan on upgrading to the halfliner when my current book is full.

If you really want to appreciate and understand baseball you should learn to keep score. My oldest daughter has already said that she wants to learn to keep score. I'll be happy to teach her one day how to do it. Once you start keeping score you'll never watch a baseball game the same way again.

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