I had always known what a hit was (except for the brief period I thought a hit was any time the ball made contact with the bat), but once I heard ‘error’ it was all a big mess. Each term made sense by written definition, but when actually implemented in games, I couldn’t make sense of it. Why was one bauble an error, but another not? I thought I’d be confused forever.
But then. The light at the end of the tunnel (most likely the tunnel where the grounds crew disappears into because we all know I have no place venturing into the clubhouse. Also, while I have no business in the tunnel, it’s much more plausible.) came when I was about 18. I finally knew the difference between a hit and an error.
This past weekend I attended a Braves v Dodgers game and kept score. I was making small conversation with the older gentleman sitting beside me in the top of the 3rd when Braves player Andrelton Simmons reached first on what I marked as E5, but the official scorer called a hit. The man next to me told me not to worry, that they would change it. As Andrelton Simmons came to bat again in the 5th, the scoreboard still read 0 Errors. Again, Simmons reached first on what I thought was E3, but the scorer called it a hit. I was mildly furious.
I understand one botched notation, but TWO, against the same team (who just happen to be the visitor)? Unacceptable. I’m more disappointed than anything else. I read the rule book for fun. No one pays me to understand the game of baseball, or to help other people understand the game. These scorekeepers are paid and seem to (on occasion) have a flimsy understanding of reality. With stakes so high that you have people waiting on your decision, you’d think the scorer would be more accurate.
Like scorers, umpires are paid for their work and in turn are required to know and adhere to the rules.
Rule 3.01(e) Comment: After a home run is hit out of the playing grounds, the umpire shall not deliver a new ball to the pitcher or the catcher until the batter hitting the home run has crossed the plate.
After both Dan Uggla and Kris Medlen’s home runs, HP Umpire (and Crew Chief) C.B. Bucknor presented a new ball to Stephen Fife before the respective batter had crossed home plate. I get it. There are A LOT of rules to remember and only some have consequences (the above does not). It’s tough to keep track of them all. The problem is that the rules were written for a reason. They are implemented for a reason. Yes, that rule does seem a tad ridiculous, but as long it’s in the book, it should be followed.
If you know how to apply for an official scorekeeper job, please let me know. I’m really interested in the hiring process (and in applying)!