Sunday, April 22, 2018

#149---BOS @ BAL, 2/27/2013

I’ve posted Spring Training games scored on this sheet before, and I’ve posted games scored using a derivative of LL Bean’s symbol scorekeeping before as well. But I’ve never disclosed the name I call this scoresheet by before because it is silly and didn’t seem relevant.

I have gone through a couple phases in my life where I felt compelled to “design” a bunch of different blank scoresheets. I think I have enough of them now that I always have one on hand that fits my needs for a particular situation, so I haven’t done much of it lately. One of these spurts was in early 2010, as the season approached and the Winter Olympics were being contested.

When I went through one of these phases, I ended up slapping non-sensical names on the various scoresheet designs to tell them apart. After all, there are only so many descriptive names (“two teams, one page, field diagram” might work for this one) available. So I’ve used space shuttles (Columbia, Challenger, etc.), players from my OOTP league (Rollson), and random names in the news. Random names was the theme here, and given the timing, the Olympics were in the news. And a curling skip named Shuster was not exactly getting rave reviews back home in the US, and for some reason I named this scoresheet Shuster. Now he has a gold medal and I’m less likely to forget the name of this sheet.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

#148---IND @ CLB, 8/12/2012

In the last entry I extolled the virtues of a spring training scoresheet that featured Mike Trout. Minor league scoresheets sometimes have the same allure. This is not one of them. AAA rosters are generally not packed with prospects, and that was true for this game between the Indians (confusingly to some, the Pirates AAA affiliate) and the Clippers (the Indians affiliate). There are certainly names you probably recognize (Brock Holt, Jose Tabata, Yamaico Navarro, Matt LaPorta, Even Meek to pick a handful), but none that really pop. The game was entertaining enough, with Indianapolis’ four run fourth augmented by a single run in the seventh enough to hold off a late charge from the homestanding Clippers.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

#147---LAA @ CLE, 3/11/2011

It’s tough to score Spring Training games. I have done it for as long as I have scored any baseball games; in fact, the earliest extant scoresheets of a professional game I have in my own hand are from spring training 1996 (I definitely kept score of Game 6 of the 1995 World Series and then erased it all in a pique of rage and sadness after the Indians lost). I am now amazed that I was able to do it before GameTracker existed; maybe it’s just my perception, maybe it’s specific announcers, but it seems that now broadcasters barely even try to keep you appraised of changes once the game enters the wholesale substitution phase.

Even the people entrusted to bring the game alive for you will sneer, especially during Spring Training; just last week (as I write this in March 2018), the voice of the Indians Tom Hamilton intoned “If you’re keeping score with us at home, you need to find a new hobby”.

So then why do I score spring training games? For one thing, I miss baseball and scorekeeping after the long winter. At the first opportunity, I want to get out the pencil and the clipboard and a fresh, clean scoresheet and start a new year. For another (related reason), scorekeeping is just what I do. I see a baseball game, I listen to a baseball game, I score it. It’s second-nature, it’s natural, it’s irresistible.

But every once in a while you’ll be partaking in one of these games and a young player will get a token at bat or inning. Maybe you know their name; they might be a late first-round pick from a cold weather state that got exposure by actually showing up at the MLBN studios for the draft. Maybe you don’t know their name, but you’ll recognize it years later.

Maybe he’ll come up to the plate in the ninth-inning to face a legitimate major league reliever like Tony Sipp. Maybe he’ll work the count to full watching all five pitches before he strikes out swinging to end the game. But you probably won’t remember it. If you look at the scoresheet after the game, it won’t resonate. You don’t know it yet, but you will. The man, the magic, the aura, the legend, the myth:


Sunday, April 1, 2018

#146---ATL @ NYN, 4/25/2010

This isn’t the shortest possible scoresheet for a game that counts, but it’s close. Most of the key moments in this game came with two outs in the first. In the top, Atlanta loaded the bases before Jason Heyward popped up. In the bottom, Jose Reyes dropped a single into left. He stole second on the second pitch to Jason Bay, and on the next pitch Bay singled to Chipper Jones, who threw it away to allow Reyes to score.

Rain came after one pitch was thrown in the top of the sixth. I’ve always thought that would wipe Raul Valdes’ relief appearance out of history, resulting in a pair of complete games after the starters combined to make 199 pitches through five innings, but who really cares about the intricacies of the complete game rule?

My notation for Hanson's strikeout in the second deserves a little exposition. The squiggly line underneath is my symbol for bunt. If its attached to a strikeout, by default it should be interpreted as a foul bunt for the thirds trike. In this case, Hanson offered at the pitch but did not make contact, so the brace indicates a swinging bunt K (the brace is my usual symbol on a pitch letter for a swinging strike, as seen on pitch B to Jose Reyes in the bottom of the first and many other places on the sheet. You could have a backwards K with a bunt line too, in the event the batter showed bunt but took the pitch for strike three.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

#145---COL @ LA, 10/3/2009

On the second-last day of the season, Colorado trailed Los Angeles by one game in the NL West race. Both teams were assured of a playoff berth, but the division was still in the balance. The pitching matchup was pretty good, a pair of lefties including some guy in his first full season named Kershaw.

Kershaw started brilliantly, perfect through 3 2/3 with five straight Ks to open the game and a total of nine of the first eleven. De La Rosa was perfect through three, but injured his groin, shelving him for the playoffs and leaving Jose Contreras in long relief. Contrereas kept the Dodgers off the board for three innings, although not nearly as cleanly (five baserunners). But Franklin Morales and Matt Belisle couldn’t answer in the seventh, getting largely dinked and dunked for a five spot, while the Dodgers got three perfect relief innings (one each) from their strong back end of Hong-Chi Kuo, George Sherrill, and Jonathon Broxton to wrap up the divisional flag.

Given the importance of this game in the race, I obviously joined the scorekeeping in progress or I would have been scoring pitch-by-pitch.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

#144---CLE @ COL, 6/17/2008

This was a rough game for an Indians fan to watch. The notion of an Indians/Rockies series in 2008 was filled with regret to begin with, since that would have been the World Series matchup the prior season had the Tribe not blown a 3-1 lead to Boston in the ALCS. The fact that the Sox ran roughshod over the Rox made it even tougher to swallow. Then you tack on the fact that there were already some serious warning signs that 2008 wasn’t going as planned (Cleveland came into this game 33-37, five back in the Central), the scary notion of Paul Byrd pitching at Coors Field, and it wasn’t exactly a fun time.

Oh, and that was before the game started, and Jeff Baker hit a two-run inside the park home run that got through the massive gaps in the Coors outfield. It only got worse from there, with Colorado scoring in each of the third through the seventh, with all but the fifth featuring multiple tallies. I knew the “Bauer” on this scoresheet was much too old to be Trevor, but I had forgotten that Rick Bauer briefly toiled for the Tribe. The Indians pair of runs came as the result of leadoff triples and sacrifice flies because, you know, Coors Field.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

#143---BOS @ TEX, 4/8/2007

Big Papi powered the BoSox to victory by driving in all three runs on homers in first two at bats off Vicente Padilla. Frank Catalanotto countered with his own homer in the bottom of the first, and Boston took a 3-1 lead deep into the game. Curt Schilling pitched seven strong innings, but Joel Pineiro ran into trouble in the bottom of the eighth, issuing two walks and a bunt single to Kenny Lofton. Javier Lopez got pinch-hitter Nelson Cruz to hit into a fielder’s choice, plating a run and leaving men at the corners. Then Jonathon Papelbon was summoned for a five out save which he delievered, striking out Michael Young looking, popping up Mark Teixeira, and setting down the Rangers (including Sammy Sosa!) in order in the ninth.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

#142---CIN @ CLE, 6/25/2006

For some reason I was just keeping a play-by-play scoresheet for this game on a sheet with pre-drawn diamonds. Jeremy Sowers was making his major league debut for the Indians against the Reds, the team that had originally drafted him and then (if memory serves) negotiated in bad faith. Back into the draft he went where the Indians made him a first-round pick for the second time.

Sowers started well, yielding just one single through the first three frames. But in the fourth, Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn both hit two-run blasts (the 549th of Griffey’s career), and that was all the scoring they would get or need.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

#141---OAK @ SF, 5/22/2005

Moises Alou’s two run homer off Barry Zito in the sixth was the decisive blow of this Giant victory over their Bay Area rivals. San Francisco added an insurance run in the eighth thanks to bumbling by Oakland second baseman Keith Ginter. First he muffed a popup to leadoff the inning, then with two outs he booted a Lance Niekro grounder to allow the runner from second to score. To add insult to injury, his fly to right off Giant closer Tyler Walker was the last out of the game.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

#140---CLE @ CHA, 8/6/2004

The Indians did their scoring early against Mark Buehrle, with Coco Crisp launching a three-run blast in the top of the second. After two more hits in that inning, ChiSox pitchers held Cleveland to just three hits the rest of the night. CC Sabathia pitched well for the Tribe, yielding single tallies in each of his last two innings before giving way to former White Sock Bobby Howry for the eighth and Bob Wickman for the ninth. Wickman walked Paul Konerko with one out in the ninth, and after Carl Everett flied out, pinch runner Willie Harris swiped second. On a 1-2 count, Joe Borchard grounded towards second, reaching safely, but Harris made for the plate and was cut down by Ronnie Belliard to end the ballgame. At this stage in the season, it was a moderately important game as both the Indians and the White Sox ended the night six back of the Twins in the divison and 5.5 back of the Rangers in the wildcard. Real contention for both clubs would wait until the next season.

The note indicates this was Roberto Alomar’s first game as a White Sox, appropriately against the Indians with whom he spent three outstanding seasons. I used to try to make note of such events as team debuts on my scoresheets, but gave it up a decade or so ago--uninteresting most cases and perilous to rely on broadcasters for accurate information. I now limit such notes to especially notable events and MLB debuts.