Saturday, April 23, 2016

#102---NYA @ CLE, 6/19/1998

This is at least the second time I’ve posted a scoresheet of the greatest team of my lifetime, the 1998 Yankees, losing. At the time I was a typical Yankee-hater, especially since they would ultimately beat my beloved Indians in the ALCS.

I distinctly remember this game; I was in Florida but was able to listen to this game on the Yankee’s Tampa affiliate (yes, they had such a thing, even in the Devil Rays’ inaugural season). I kept it on a form that was designed for tracking statistics for APBA games; on our vacation I had bought a APBP starter kit with the 1995 playoff teams for about $5 at a Big Lots. Why that compelled me to keep score of a major league game on the accompanying sheet is a mystery, though.

Jim Thome was the star of the game, hitting two homers and drawing two walks.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#101---CLE @ KC, 3/16/1997

For this spring training game, I was once again using a pre-printed form with the multiple choice quiz, but at least I was tracing the diamond and not being ridiculously excessive in my notation.

This is the second straight game I’ve posted in which Albie Lopez started for Cleveland; apparently I had the misfortune of choosing to disproportionately score his games. It’s a spring training game so there isn’t that much of note here, but I enjoy seeing Mike Sweeney batting eighth and catching for Kansas City, as well as the appearance of Trenidad Hubbard, who at least in my memory was scorching at the plate during spring training 1997. I believe I took to calling him the “Immortal Trenidad Hubbard” during this time in homage to the Immortal Joe Azcue. I should go to the storage locker and dig out old Baseball Weekly copies to verify. Hubbard would get into seven regular season games for the Indians. He had a weird career, making his major league debut at age 30 in 1994, then appearing in every major league season through 2003. His career OPS+ was 86 in 864 PA, but he was a  legitimately good bench piece for the Dodgers at age 34 in 1998, with a 116 OPS+ in 235 PA.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

#100---CLE @ TOR, 4/28/1996

My earliest scoresheets are horrible to try to read; not only was I using a terrible “circle how the batter reached” pre-printed sheet, but I insisted on using drawn out notations like “FLY 7” when a simple 7 would have sufficed. If you can soldier through that, this was a fun game for the Indians as they absolutely destroyed Frank Viola, lighting him up for ten runs in four innings. The biggest single blow was Sandy Alomar’s 3-run homer in the first, and Albert Belle hit a solo shot in the fourth. The onslaught didn’t stop when Viola got the hook, as the Indians scored six in two innings off Giovannie Carrara, including a two-run homer by Alvaro Espinoza, one of a career-high 8 he would hit in 1996 (8 of his career 22, it really was the silly ball era).

Toronto’s scoring came on three solo homers: Sandy Martinez, Carlos Delgado, and Ed Sprague. One thing I can’t figure out is how one was supposed to be able to tell if substitutions occurred in the top or bottom of an inning; the substitutes are all just listed with an inning number (e.g. Kirby 6). Maybe it was assumed to be top or offense or some other default unless otherwise noted?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

#99---South Africa v. Australia, 2/13/2016 (World Baseball Classic Qualifier)

Happy Baseball!

This was the first game I scored in 2016, the final of the WBC qualifier played in Sydney that featured the host Aussies, South Africa, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Australia had competed in the first three editions of the Classic, while South Africa had played in the first two as something of a token representative of Africa before qualifying was put in place. Obviously Australia was the favorites, with starter Travis Blackley, reliever Peter Moylan, and right fielder Trent Oeltjen among their players with MLB experience.

Despite the talent imbalance and lopsided final score, it was a very fun game to watch. Gift Ngope led off with a homer for South Africa, and Oeltjen doubled in a run to tie it in the bottom of the frame. The game stayed tied until Australia led off the fifth with back to back homers, but South Africa came right back to lead 4-3 on a three-run homer. Once again the lead was short-lived as the Aussies tied it in the sixth, then took the lead with two in the seventh.

South Africa wasn’t done yet, scoring a run to pull within 6-5 and stranding the tying runner at third. But in the bottom of the eighth, their thin bullpen finally cracked, with Australia sending eleven to the plate and scoring four times off a parade of South African relievers. Still, it was a good way to start another year of watching baseball and keeping score.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#98---TOR @ NYA, 4/6/2015

Last year’s Opening Day game for the Blue Jays and Yankees marked the first game for Didi Gregorius as Derek Jeter’s replacement and the major league debuts of Deveon Travis (an impressive two walks and a homer) and Miguel Castro (who retired all three Yankees he faced and got out of the eighth when Gregorius, clearly cracking under the pressure of replacing His Holiness, was inexplicably caught stealing third with runners on first & second, two outs, and the Bombers down five runs).

A-Rod also returned from his inane suspension with a single and a walk, while the Jays got to Masahiro Tanaka for five runs in the third, capped by a two-run shot by Edwin Encarnacion.

I don’t think there are any new notations here, but I will draw your attention to how I indicate shifts, which obviously are a bigger factor now than before. I have no way of marking a shift unless an out is recorded; even if I wanted to clutter my scoresheet with that information, it would only be possible when at the park. Most telecasts are too busy showing moron fans to bother with trivialities like where the fielders are positioned.

But if the fielder makes a play outside of his normal position, I mark it with subscript. So on Navarro’s groundout in the third, Gregorius (the shortstop, 6) made the play up the middle, but on the shortstop’s side of the bag (64). Headley’s groundout in the fourth came as Travis was positioned in shallow right-center (98S).

Or as I put it in a blog comment:

From the perspective of a “pleasure scorekeeper”, I don’t endeavor to record zones to the level that a Project Scoresheet-style scorekeeper would. I use a subscript if the fielder who makes the play is significantly removed from his normal position. 4(9S)3, where the 9S is actually written in subscript between the 4 and the 3, would indicate a 43 putout in which the second baseman fields the ball in shallow right. Similarily, 6(46)3 would be a 63 in which the shortstop fields the ball on the second base side of the bag, but not in the standard second base zone--that would be 6(4)3.

I divide the outfield into 7l, 7, 78, 87, 8, 89, 98, 9, and 9l, which I would also use for a groundball hit through the infield regardless of whether it might have been hit at the fielder’s normal position. So a single through the vacated third base position would probably just be a -7l or a -7 (line below the 7 to indicate a groundball).

The distinction between the zones and the “standard” fielder positions is all just on what it looks or feels like to me, so obviously this approach is not suited for collecting data for analytical purposes. But as a relatively simple and space-conserving way in which to reflect some of this information on a traditional scoresheet, I find it satisfactory.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#97---CHA @ TOR, 6/28/2014

After finally taking the plunge to track the score of the game in-progress, I applied the same basic approach to tracking all of the summary statistics. Previously I displayed these for each inning as R-H-W-LOB; to save space I now smashed them all together, so that 1201 was 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 left. If the running total changed from the previous inning (i.e. if the line for the inning was anything other than 0000), then the new total was listed to the right, as you can see for the Blue Jays’ second. If the values ever cease being single digits (which did not happen in this game, but often do; obviously 10+ hits in a game is not a particularly rare event), then I break it into two lines, with runs and hits on top, walks and LOB on the bottom. The final tally for the game, from whatever inning it was reached, is boxed in at the end of the game.

Early in this game, only the totals in Toronto’s boxes were doing much changing, thanks to a 2-run fifth inning homer by Darrin Mastroianni (these were not your 2015 Blue Jays, as the lineup presence of Glenn and Tolleson also suggest). Marcus Stroman was pitching great into the seventh, recording the first two outs before surrendering a double to would-be Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu and walking Adam Dunn (one of my favorites who had a great game in this his final season, singling, doubling, and drawing two walks, yet also inexplicably getting caught stealing to end the fifth--the only time he was caught this season, and one of just two attempts). Dustin McGowan was summoned, and promptly served up the lead as Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run bomb. In the eighth, McGowan had his own two-out trouble, with Adam Eaton singling to first base and Gordon Beckham following with a single. Aaron Loup surrendered a single to Connor Gillaspie and the White Sox had a 4-2 lead. Toronto quickly scored with a double and single to start the ninth, but could do nothing more.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

#96---PHI @ CIN, 4/15/2013

One thing that I have always had trouble keeping in mind about scorekeeping is that “score” is prominently included in the name. I have always been so focused on recording the minutia of the play on the field that the score of the game has often been afterthought. Of course, part of recording the play on the field is marking when runs are scored, and I have never had any trouble doing that. However, I have often eschewed any sort of summary of the game in progress. Some of the earliest examples with the scoresheet I’ve basically been using since 1998 don’t even include the final score of the game. I knew it at the time, and figured that if I were ever interested in revisiting it, I could just tally up the runs then.

Eventually I made a point of recording the final score of each game (which also made it easy to spot scoresheets that showed the first nine innings of an extra-inning affair, since they had no final score), but it wasn’t until 2013 that I bothered to record a running tally of the score as the game progresses, which you can see in this example. The 2, enclosed with a box, at the end of the Reds’ seventh inning line indicates their total score at this point was 2. When they added another pair in the eighth, this became a 4. I only recorded this running score if it changed, which cuts down on excess writing but sometimes requires a look back through the previous inning summaries.

This was a good game; through 6.5 innings both Bronson Arroyo and Cliff Lee had three-hit their opponents. But in the Cincinnati seventh Votto singled, Phillips doubled, Votto scored on a wild pitch that also moved Phillips to third, Bruce walked, and Frazier hit a sac fly. But Philadelphia would tie it on Chase Utley’s two-out, two-run pinch hit homer in the eighth. But Jerry Horst allowed two hits, then intentionally walked Joey Votto as Mike Adams was summoned with only one out. Brandon Phillips singled in two runs on a 1-2 pitch, and Aroldis Chapman mowed down the Phillies in the ninth. The final was 4-2, and you could actually finally follow the progress towards it on my scoresheet.

Note Chris Heisey's 7th inning PA, in which he reached on a throwing error by the pitcher. The "-->2" under the "TE1" indicates that the errant throw was directed to second base. Otherwise, in lieu of any notation, it would be assumed to have been made in an attempt to retire Heisey, the batter-runner.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

#95---KC @ LAA, 4/6/2012

This was the last game I watched during an opening day binge in 2012, and it was a simpler time. The Royals lineup has many names that were familiar during the 2014-2015 dystopian postseasons, but they weren’t very good yet and Bruce Chen was their opening day starter. Well, the latter may be different from the current reality in name only. Their opponent was the Angels, sans Mike Trout, who would not be recalled until later in the spring. But Jered Weaver cruised, giving up four hits, no walks, fanning ten, and making just 97 pitches over eight shutout innings. KC kept it close until the first four Angels singled in the eighth and Erick Aybar hit a bases-clearing triple. This was also Albert Pujols’ first game for LAA, lining into a DP, popping up, fanning, and being intentionally walked.

It doesn’t look as if any new notations showed up in my scoresheet. However, Betancourt's at-bat in the seventh featured a rate play for which you can see my scoring. He fouled off the sixth pitch, and noted fielding whiz Mark Trumbo muffed in foul territory. I note this by bracketing [CE5] after the regular notation ("F") for that foul ball (F because it was the sixth pitch). There's no need to note that the error occurred in foul territory because the context makes it clear.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

#94---CHA @ CLE, 4/2/2011

This was the second game of the 2011 season for the two teams, which is most interesting to me because Carlos Carrasco got the start for the Indians. Carrasco would of course not really emerge as a good major league starter until late in the season in 2014 (or 2015 if you prefer a full-season performance to make that determination), but the Tribe’s rotation to open 2011 was Fausto Carmona, Carrasco, Justin Masterson (who would emerge as the #1 starter), Josh Tomlin (still a candidate for the rotation in 2016), and Mitch Talbot. Carrasco, surrended five runs in the first two frames then settled in, but was somewhat surprisingly sent out to work the seventh after allowing a sixth run in the sixth.

You also might note the presence of Chris Sale, then working out of the ChiSox pen, mowing down all five Indians he faced, including Ks of lefties Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner. Orlando Cabrera was batting sixth at second base and also fanned.

Looking at the scoresheet I don’t see any new notations or flourishes jumping out, but sometimes I add those as the season goes on and of course minor ones don’t necessarily manifest in each game.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

#93---TEX @ SEA, 3/17/2010

The scoresheet used here is one that I use for Spring Training games almost exclusively. The diagram of the field allows for a convenient way to record defensive replacements even when you’re not exactly sure where they will be placed in the lineup. In my early scorekeeping days I assumed all substitutions were straight-up, and erased as necessary later. Some managers seemed to make it their personal mission to thwart scorekeepers using that approach by never batting their new third baseman where their departing third basemen hit.

Then I moved on to keeping a separate piece of paper to write down defensive changes, then entering the players into the lineup as they came to the plate. This is a good system, although it involves another piece of paper, and one I still use for the All-Star Game. But if I’m not keeping a pitch-by-pitch record of the game (and even a nut like I usually don’t for spring training), the diagram is handy.

The other different thing about this scoresheet is that in this case, since the scoreboxes are much smaller than I’m accustomed to, I used a hit location scoring system inspired by LL Bean’s scoring system to save space. Thus Julio Borbon’s leadoff single was a flyball single to left; Nelson Cruz’ second inning single a groundball single to center; and Vladimir Guerrero’s fifth inning single a line drive to left.

This must have been one of the last times I watched my first (and fairly brief) childhood baseball idol play. Ken Griffey grounded to first, popped to third, flew to center, and struck out. I was right to dump him for Barry Bonds by late 1995.