Wednesday, May 19, 2004

A couple of years ago, I began scoring games. I was regularly attending Royals games, and one night forked over the $1 for a scorecard, and learned to score as I went. Since then, I've scored just about every game I've attended.

I'm not even sure why I do it. I've always discarded the score card after the game, so I wasn't preserving the game for later. I think for me, it is a tool that allows me to remained glued to the game. It enhances my enjoyment of the game.

Earlier today, I was perusing the Baseball Prospectus web site, and found an article by Derek Zumsteg on scoring. I don't have a subscription to the site to read the entire article, but the abstract caught my attention:

If you've scored games for any length of time--no matter if you were in the press box or the cheap seats--you've probably had this happen to you: 1) Someone mocks you for keeping score; 2) Later, the same person asks you for information off your card.

Scoring leaves a personal record of the game. Done well, it's like a familiar photograph that recalls the memories of a vacation. If I ever need to know what happened in some game, I can look up the results, or even the box score. But if I want to know how it felt to watch it, that's when I dig up my score cards. The long innings stretch out on the card, my chess-style notes next to great plays and weird manager decisions to revisit later. The guy who mocks the scorer goes home after the best game he's ever seen, but a week later remembers only what he saw on SportsCenter the next morning. The scorer has a hand-drawn portrait of the game he actually watched; what he experienced.

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