Thursday, June 23, 2005
Well, tonight was different in the Blue Cats and Red Sox den.
I tried scoring the game.
Bear in mind that I have never scored a game before and am in the process of learning how to do so from a combination of my mother, my father, and issue number 1 of the 2005 Detroit Tigers magazine. I think I did pretty well, in that I got all the boxes filled and all the runs added up properly at the end and all that (sort of like balancing a checkbook, no?). I got a bit tripped up with pinch hitters and runners and couldn't figure out how to fit them into the little boxes but other than that, relative success!
It's a mess, mind you, because I scored it by using the corners of the box to indicate bases instead of drawing the basepaths to make a series of cool little diamonds, so it's just a whole bunch of little letters and numbers and you have to look up close at individual boxes to really read it, but it's all there. My mother yelled at me for this, by the by. She came in when I already had half the game scored from what the Tigers program had taught me, and she was horrified to see that I wasn't drawing the little diamonds.
I have to say, it's an interesting way to watch the game. I definitely found myself paying close attention to every at-bat, instead of occasionally having stare-downs with the cats for two or three batters. I found myself yelling at the inadequacy of the camera at times, when it would only show the guys throwing the runner out briefly, and you could tell that it was someone standing near second base... but was it the second baseman or the shortstop? 6-3 or 4-3? I am trying to learn how to score a game, NESN, do not thwart my tentative initial efforts.
Sickeningly, the more information I put down, the more I wanted to be able to put down. Writing 5-3 wasn't enough, I wanted to write in that Bill Mueller made a beautiful jump to get the ball and threw off-balance to make the out. Writing that Jay Payton hit a double and advanced to third on an error in the 9th didn't capture the way he ran all-out the whole way, making it look like an honest-to-gosh triple.
I did end up sticking in a few extra notes. Victor Martinez has a box with an 8 in it for his 4th inning at-bat, but underneath that I pencilled in '12P'... sure, he flew out to center, but he did so after a 12 pitch at-bat of Grueling Insanity. And over the K(s) for Jason Varitek's 6th inning AB I have a tiny little word smooshed in at the top of the box-- 'aargh!'-- which doesn't quite sum up the agony of watching him strike out with 2 outs and the bases loaded, but it's an indicator.
The scorecard I used was the one that came in the Detroit Tigers magazine (I got it when I went to the game with my dad this April), so the Red Sox were the Tigers on it and there's a Detroit D on the side. In the final tally columns it's got AB, R, H, RBI, and E, which pissed me off. No final tally for BB? Welcome to the Moneyball ERA, Tigers program-scorecard-makers. Here in the future, we count walks. Heady stuff.
I did enjoy it, and I think I'll give it another try on Friday if I'm home for the entire game, maybe with the diamonds this time. But I do have one pressing question, one great difficulty that I did not run into but found myself fearing in the longer innings.
What on earth do you do if the lineup bats around?