What’s the score?
We went to the Giants game the other day and Ann and I decided to do something new – keep score with a pen and a real score sheet. The score sheet only cost a dollar, which clearly made it the cheapest part of the day, especially after plunking down $9 for a beer.
While these days much of the ongoing game information can be found on the zeppelin-sized scoreboards or on apps on your smart phone, keeping score by hand somehow fits when you’re sitting in the ballpark on a sunny Thursday afternoon, rather than at your desk where you ought to be. It’s a throw-back to a time when men wore fedoras and suits to the game and then went back to the office.
Keeping score fills up the minutes and forces you to watch every at bat. You start to welcome the delays so you can take a little break yourself. Like when the catcher walks out to the mound, or the pitcher works soooo slowly the batter nods off, or the slow walk by the hitter from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, and the rituals before settling in – Pablo Sandoval tapping himself on the head and shoes, drawing in the dirt with his bat, and stepping over, never on, the lines.
As the game went along, we tried to master the intricacies of scoring, such as a backwards K for a called third strike. I left it to Ann to mark up the sheet since she’s much neater and more detail oriented (or so I’ve been told). There were some confusing plays such as a rundown between second and third that involved the pitcher, shortstop, third baseman and second baseman. That’s a 1-6-5-4 put out, I think. And how do you score a swinging strike three, where the ball gets away from the catcher, who then has to throw to first to complete the out?
The cool part was that whenever a batter came to the plate, we knew exactly what he had done before. Unfortunately for the Giants, that was fly out to right, fly out to left, fly out to center, with the occasional line drive straight to third, short or second. Needless to say, the Giants lost that day. If you want more details, we’ve got ‘em.
When it was over, the score sheet looked like a complicated nuclear physics equation, or possibly a work of abstract art. Next time we’ll take a pencil.