Yes, there’s an app for that but…

July 12, 2013 · 1 comment

Excellent piece in the NY Times by my neighbor Harvey Araton on the lost art of keeping score.

My daughter, Rachel, was manager for her high school baseball team for three seasons, winning the job for her ability to keep score (and take pictures and bake cupcakes). We don’t go to a lot of games, but when we do, she always a scorebook (although she brings her own rather than buy one at the stadium) and refuses to leave early to beat the crowds.

Part of the article considers apps for phones and tablets that will do a nice, neat job, but where’s the art in that? I still have some programs from my first games in 1966 when we would go via my Prospect Park Jewish Center day camp. When I was a child, I kept score like a child, full of abbreviations like “PO” for pop-up, “GO” for ground out, “FO” for fly out, with no other notation as to the details of the actual play (now I can go back, via websites like Retrosheet.org or baseball-reference.com and see what really happened). Compare that with the super-detailed computer work I did as a free-lancer for STATS, one of the companies that supplies data to the media and teams. Now that was pressure; didn’t even have time to go to the bathroom.

 

Books about scorekeeping include:

A caveat: While I have read and enjoyed the first two titles, I have no personal knowledge of the others. I once read somewhere that men think they can do three things better than anyone else and one of those was keeping score (the other two vary according to source). It’s a personal thing with many styles, some of which are dictated by the type of scorebook used. My book of choice includes spaces for keeping the count. I imagine they get more and more sophisticated to accommodate for the new era of statistics.

Be sociable, share the Bookshelf!
  • Joe Schuster

    Great post — nice tribute to what is, indeed, becoming a lost art. I’ve kept score at every major league game I’ve gone to since my father taught me to keep score when I was a boy. Unfortunately, a good number of moves has meant that all of my scorecards before 1980 are in the wind somewhere — but scorecards I have (and I buy one every time I go down to the ballpark) are more than records of the outs and hits and errors. Nearly all of the games I’ve gone to, I’ve attended with at least one of my kids, and I’ve always noted on the scorecard who went with me, where our seats were, and other minutiae about the day (was there an interesting person throwing out the first pitch or singing the National Anthem), so the scorecards are also a record of the hours I’ve spent in a ballpark with my sons and daughters (who don’t keep score, but they all know how to).

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