It’s an art, it’s an art*
Scorekeeping. It’s an art form. There’s a good chance you don’t agree with that, but I bet you agree that it is a skill, and one that takes a lot of patience to learn.
I’m not sure exactly how old I was when my father first taught me about the “numbers” of the players’ positions. I do, however, remember telling him that Cal Ripken Jr. couldn’t be number 8 (uniform) AND number 5 (position) while playing 3rd base. (I do realize that my consideration of Cal as a 3rd baseman proves just how young I am.) At first I justified that 5+3=8. But that didn’t work for Brady Anderson. 8+CF ≠ 9.
Anyway, after asking a lot of the same questions over and over again I finally figured it out. I enjoyed it so much so that I used to ask my high school softball coach to bench me just so I could keep the score. He obliged. I used to think that it was because I was such a good scorekeeper (I was. No one else had my useless talent.), but the main reason was because I had no fielding abilites at all.
What will never fail to confuse me: If the infield #s are chronological for 1st and 2nd base, why is 3rd base next and THEN SS? SS should be 5. 3rd should be 6. It just should.
Let’s discuss why there isn’t a free computer program that us homeviewers can use for score keeping. Or why there isn’t a preloaded character for striking out looking (I’d use a backwards K BUT I CAN’T!) NEver mind preloaded, there is no way to make this symbol without drawing it in paint or Photoshop. Lame.
I have so much fun keeping my own scorecard, even when I’m watching from home! Here is my most recent “card” – White Sox v Mets during Matt Harvey’s 9.0 IP, 1H, 0BB, 12K, NO DECISION. But more on that at a later date.
Keith Hernandez keeps one of the most meticulously detailed cards I’ve ever seen, using tons of different colored highlighters. It’s always fun to hear him complain when a game goes in to extras that there aren’t enough colors.
For those of you looking to learn the basic notation for scorekeeping, check out http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/baseball_basics/keeping_score.jsp. If you need a very detailed explanation of how each instance is scored, take a look at section 10 of the official rule book. It’s 32 pages long. The whole book is only 132 pages.
*10 points to anyone who knows what that lyric is from. -10 points for thus figuring out I’m also a musical/broadway nerd.