When I became a fan of baseball, I ran into a small problem: almost no one I know likes baseball as much as I do. Most of my friends like it enough to have a favorite team and come to a game or two with me, but eight games in ten days? Every game of a weekend series? No. They apparently have families and other hobbies and “responsibilities.”
But that means that I go to a fair amount of baseball games by myself. That doesn’t bother me at all, but three hours is a long time to sit in silence and watch a game, so I started keeping score.
I love it. One of the many things I love about baseball is that it happens slowly enough that I can draw a little picture of what happens in each at bat. And I’ve always had a deep affinity for office supplies, so scoring combines two of my favorite things.
The scorebook I use is the Halfliner by Eephus League, which you can get here. It’s both gorgeous and durable, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s already in Giants colors. It holds 81 games, so it’s perfect for a season (even I don’t score more than 81 games a season). The pages are thick, so ink doesn’t bleed through, and the cover is stiff enough to make it easy to fill out the card on your lap during a live game. It’s perfect and I love it and I buy myself a new one every year.
One of the other things I like about keeping score is that people talk to me about it. I’ve made a ton of “baseball friends” (people who are only your friends while you sit next to them at a baseball game) because of my scorebook. I’ve gotten better seats, because the ushers at Wrigley love a woman who scores. I’ve gotten free drinks, I’ve won bets, I’ve loaned out my pencil sharpener, and I’ve compared notes with other scorekeepers.
And I’ve gotten questions:
- Do you work for the team? This one happens only at away games, but most of the Giants games I see are away since I live in Illinois and they (mostly) do not.
- Do you have to turn your scorecard in at the end of the game? I always wonder who they think I’m going to turn it in to. The Scorekeeper School? …ooh, there should be one of those!
- Did your dad teach you to do that? No. I was raised by a single mom. Who didn’t watch sports.
- What happens if you have to pee? I just write BATHROOM on the card for that inning. Likewise if I want a snack or something. There’s no requirement that my scorecard is compete. See above, re: question 2.
One of the things I’m really interested in finding out is how going to umpire school will change my scoring. I wonder if knowing more of the rules will make my card more detailed or let me create new shorthand.(1)
(NOTE: If you are not a chick, you don’t get to call people chicks. And don’t email me asking why not–you know why not.)
1. I’m still trying to figure out how to score the Call Overturned play, so if anyone has any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.