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     by
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jontanderson@juno.com

 

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Learn How To Keep Score

 

 

The Scorecard

The form appears complex but once examined makes perfect sense

Innings run across the top. Spaces for the player name along the side. There are extra spaces for pinch hitters and extra spaces for an extra inning game. Each grid, where the inning and player name meet, has a small diamond that represents the actual playing field. Spaces on the right side of the sheet are used for tracking the players final statistics at the end of the game.

You begin by filling in the players name using the team line-up. Use a second page to place the visiting team's line-up on a card. When each player comes to bat in an inning you fill in the small diamond with the appropriate code and actions taken.

Game Data

Once you've familiarized yourself with the scorecard layout, it is time to start filling it in.  Normally at the top you'll find places to log information such as team names, date, and time.  Some scorecards also contain spaces for location, temperature, weather, team win-loss records, and several other statistics.  Some cards will even provide space for umpire and coach names.   Fill in as much as you want, but be sure to fill in the team names, date, and time.  If you don't, you won't know what game you were scoring when you find the scorecard in the bottom of a drawer a few months later.

Player Data

Next, find where you'll be entering player data.  This will be a grid with inning numbers and other designations running across the top and spaces for the players' names, numbers and positions down the side.  Fill these in when the batting order is announced.  Before entering the player positions, you should be aware of one standard way of recording them.  Instead of alphabetic abbreviations, most people assign numbers to the positions.  The standard position numbers are shown below. 

1 - Pitcher;    2 - Catcher;    3 - 1st Base;    4 - 2nd Base;    5 - 3rd Base;
6 - Shortstop;     7 - Left Field;     8 - Center Field;     9 - Right Field 


SCORING
Basic Abbreviations

Abbreviation

1B
2B
3B
BB
BK
CS 
DP
DH
E
FC 
FO
HBP
HR

IW
K
PB
SB
SF
SH
WP

 

Definitions

Single
Double
Triple
Base on Balls
Balk
Caught Stealing
Double Play
Designated Hitter
Error
Fielder's Choice
Force-Out
Hit By Pitch
Home Run
Interference
Intentional Walk
Strikeout
Passed Ball
Stolen Base
Sacrifice Fly
Sacrifice Hit
Wild Pitch

 

Comprehensive Abbreviation List

Abbreviations

* or !
1B
2B
3B
A
BB
BK
BS
BT
CG
CS
DP
DH
E
Et
F
FC 
FO
FP
G
GA
GB
GIDP
GS
HB
HBP
HR

IBB
IF
IP
IW
K
Kc
Ks
L
LD
LOB
LP
NP
Obs
OF
OS
PB
PH
PO
PR
R
RBI
RS
S or SH
SAC
SB
SF
SHO
SO
SV
T
TB
TP
U
W
WP

 

Definitions

Great Defensive Play
Single
Double
Triple
Assist
Base on Balls
Balk
Blown Save
Bunt
Complete Game
Caught Stealing
Double Play
Designated Hitter
Error
Error on Throw
Foul
Fielder's Choice
Force-Out
Fielding Percentage
Game
Games Ahead
Games Behind
Grounded into Double Play
Games Started
Hit by Ball
Hit By Pitch
Home Run
Interference
Intentional Base on Balls
Infield Fly
Innings Pitched
Intentional Walk
Strikeout
Strikeout - Called
Strikeout - Swinging
Left or Losses
Line Drive
Left on Base
Losing Pitcher
Number of Pitches Thrown
Obstruction
Outfield
Out Stealing
Passed Ball
Pinch Hit
Putout
Pinch Runner
Right
Runs Batted In
Runner(s) Stranded
Sacrifice Hit
Sacrifice
Stolen Base
Sacrifice Fly
Shutout
Strikeouts
Save
Triple
Total Bases
Triple Play
Unassisted Putout
Walk
Wild Pitch

 

Don't know what half or more of these terms are?

Check out The Glossary

For Who and When

BATTERS

PITCHERS

·  Getting a walk to first because of four balls or interference
·  Getting hit by the ball
·  Times at bat (sacrifice hits do not count)
·  Scoring a run
·  Batting in a run
·  Getting a safe hit
·  Hitting a double, triple, or home run
·  Hitting a home run with bases loaded
·  Hitting a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly
·  Striking out 

·  Pitching a full or partial inning
·  Pitching to specific batters
·  Striking out a batter
·  Allowing hits (sacrifice and not) or runs (both earned and unearned)
·  Allowing a home run
·  Walking a batter (intentional and non)
·  Hitting a batter with a pitch
·  Throwing a wild pitch 

FIELDERS

RUNNERS

·  Making a putout
·  Making an assist
·  Being part of a double or triple play
·  Making an error
·  Missing a pitch/passed balls (catchers only)

·  Stealing a base
·  Getting caught stealing a base
·  Getting extra bases from walks
·  Getting left on base at the end of an inning

OTHER

·  Name of the winning and losing pitchers
·  Name of the pitcher with the save (if any)
·  Name of the starting and finishing pitchers on both teams
·  Name of the umpires
·  Scores for each team by inning
·  When the winning run is scored, the number of outs left
·  Time taken to play the game 

Scoring Samples

These are just a few of the basics often seen in similar formats on most every scorekeeper's card. Many variations exist but after a few moments of comparison you should be able to figure out a fellow scorekeeper's system, doing this may also teach you a new way of doing something better and add to the overall enjoyment you are sure to receive from scoring a game.

Scoring A Single

Scoring A Double  

 Scoring A Triple

Scoring A Home Run 

     or    

Scoring A Base On Balls

Scoring A Strikeout  
(Batter swung and missed)

     or     with number of strikes

 Scoring A Called Strikeout
(Umpire called strike due to ball was in strike zone)

      or    

 

Scorekeeper Shorthand

Scorekeeping is accomplished by a sort of "shorthand,"  which is basically a combination of position numbers and abbreviations.  Refer to the "Scoring Abbreviation" page to see some common numbers and abbreviations used throughout a game.

Batter Up!

Let's see what we need to do as each player has his turn at bat.  We'll confine ourselves to the top of the lineup.

If you've familiarized yourself with the position numbers, you'll see that the center fielder, second baseman, catcher, and right fielder are the first batters up.

Smith singles to center field.  A lot of pre-printed scorecards will have a diamond representing the field in the middle of each box.  To mark Smith's single, we'll darken the line from home to first and place a 1B next to it.  Many people also like to draw a line to show where the batter hit the ball.

Lawson's up next and he strikes out swinging.  A "K" is placed in his box to indicate that he struck out.  If it was a called strike three, a "Kc" or a backwards "K" would be placed in the box.  A circled "1" is also placed in the box to indicate that it is the first out.

Henry is batting next, but while he is batting Smith manages to steal second.  The line from first to second should be darkened and an "SB" along with a number to indicate who was at bat is written to indicate that Smith stole second during Henry's plate appearance.  I like to use the player's jersey number for this.   It makes it easier for me to keep track of things.  Other people use the player's position number.  So, I could have just as easily written "SB2" instead of "SB17".  If Henry hit or sacrificed the batter over to second, you would place just the uniform or player number next to the path from first to second to show how Smith got to there.

Henry manages to draw a walk.  The line from home to first is darkened and either a "BB" or "W" is written to indicate the walk.   I prefer to use BB for "Base on Balls."

Jones is now at bat and hits it to the short stop who tosses it to the second baseman who tags the bag to get Henry out.  The second baseman then throws to first to get Jones out.  A classic 6-4-3 double play, which is what is written in Jones' box.   Of course, both outs must be recorded.  So a line is drawn halfway between first and second in Henry's box and is marked with a '33' to indicate that Jones was the batter.  A circled '2' is also entered to indicate that Henry was the second out.

In Jones' box a 6-4-3 is written along with a 'DP' for the double play and a circled '3' to indicate the third out.  A 'DP' could also have been entered in Henry's box to indicate that he was caught up in the double play as well.  One other method is to draw a line connecting the two boxes.

The '6-4-3' above is an example of how all players who were involved in putting the runner out are given credit. 

Since this is the third out, a slash is drawn across the lower right-hand corner of Jones' box to indicate the end of the inning.  This is what the scorecard should look like after the first half-inning.

 

SUBSTITUTIONS

Later in the game...

I've never seen a game where at least one substitution was not made.  There are many reasons to replace a starter: pitchers get tired, batters aren't hitting, players get injured, someone's ejected, or the manager makes a strategic move.   Whatever the reason, sooner or later you're going to have to mark a substitution on your scorecard.

So, how do you do this?  It depends on the substitution.

For batter substitutions, I draw a line between the last scorebox of the previous batter and the first scorebox of the new batter.


Kitt pinch hits for Lawson 

If the new batter is a pinch hitter, place "PH" in the position box.  If he is taking a position in the field, use the normal position numbers.  If players are moved around in the field, you'll want to show that on your scorecard.  Usually, I make a note by the player's name indicating the move.   

When a substitution is made for the pitcher, place a line under the score box of the last batter the previous pitcher faced.

AFTER THE GAME

Back in the Dugout

Now that the game is over, you can tabulate all the data you've compiled.   If you haven't been keeping up with it during the game, now is the time to add up the statistics for each inning:  runs, hits, errors, passed balls, and men left on base.  You can also add up the data for each pitcher:  innings pitched, batters faced, strikeouts, walks, hits, runs, earned runs, wild pitches, batters hit, and balks.   There may be other statistics that you can fill in on your card  Professionally printed scorecards may contain several fields to tally a batter's performance:   at-bats, runs, hits, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in and others.  It's up to you to decide how much you want to do.

If you want to learn the formulas for calculating batting average, earned-run average, on-base percentage, or several other stats,
 check out the statistics page.

Finally

The official scorekeeper must prove the official box score, which is what becomes part of the official record.  The formula is very simple and must be applied to each teams scorecard. 

First, total the number of runs, men left on base and opponents' putouts for one team.   Next, total the number of at-bats, walks, sacrifices, batters hit by pitcher and awards of first base due to interference for the same team.  If these two totals are equal than this team's box score is "proven."   Repeat the process for the other team.

You do not have to prove a box score, but I thought others might find it interesting.

Take a Swing

Hopefully, the above examples will give you an idea about how scorekeeping is done.   Give it a try next time you go to out to the ballgame.  Also, don't be afraid to experiment.  What works best for others may not be best for you. 

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