Mike McCann / Minor Leagues
By Mike McCann
One dying art at baseball games is keeping score. Almost every time I go to a baseball game, I will buy a scorecard and keep score myself. It's a good way to know exactly what is going on in the game. There used to be a number of people who would keep score at a game, but it seems to be decreasing in popularity.
For me, keeping score serves a number of purposes. I like having a record of what I saw at a game. There have been many times where I have looked back at an old scorecard to see who had played that day and how they did. For minor league games, it's always fun to pull out an old scorecard and look at which players had become major league players.
Another thing that makes keeping score interesting is that it is your unique interpretation of what occurred. The official scorer will decide what happened for the record, but I don't always agree with what they decide. I like having my own notes where I decided if it was a wild pitch or a passed ball. Also, everyone has a different way of doing it. I'm not sure where I picked up my style because I haven't found one instance yet where the 'How to Keep Score' example in the scorecard matches how I do things. I've modified my record keeping for a few things over the years, like how to denote when a player got an RBI. But it's really something that only I can do.
I also like seeing the different scorecards that the teams create. Sometimes they are printed like a newspaper (which are often difficult to write on) and others on cardboard stock. It's fun to see what different features each team decides to include in their scorecards.
Getting a scorecard is also a good way to learn about the players on the team. I enjoy having a roster and statistics handy at a game to see which players to pay closer attention to. Even when I go see a local minor league team, I will always stare at the starting pitchers stats to get a feel for how they are doing and scan the stats of the opening lineup to see how the players are doing. It really makes the game more fun to be a more informed fan than watch a bunch of guys that you know nothing about.
Many times I end up seeing a game by myself, so it gives me something good to occupy myself while I am watching. The main problem with this is that nobody is there to hear my witty comments about what is going on in the game. For me, baseball is a good time to relax, but I try to make the experience as fun as I can.
Keeping score is sometimes a good conversation starter. There have been a number of times where somebody will see that I am keeping score and they will strike up a conversation about the game since they know that I must really be interested in it. I've learned a lot about different places this way when people have talked with me about their home team and what is going on in their town.
I started keeping score at games when I was about 7 or 8. I'm sure my parents liked it since I was paying attention to the game instead of running around. I encourage you to get kids involved in this activity. I think that it is a good way to learn appreciation of the sport. I know that I learned a lot from being a big fan of baseball when I was young.
I'm sure that most people who are reading this already keep score, but if not, it is a very fun activity. You won't see too many people doing it anymore, but you can take baseball back towards its roots. Casual fans probably wouldn't be very interested in this, but I think that those who really enjoy the game will also have fun with this activity.
I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an e-mail and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.