Saturday, August 16, 2008

Baseball Scoring: Keeping The Book Is A Lost Art

Here's an experiment for you. At your next practice ask your players a simple question:

"Raise your hand if you know how to "keep the book" meaning keep proper score of a baseball game?"

Depending on their age you may get a few who say yes.. but I don't think many of your players would answer in the affirmative. That's because keeping the book is a lost art.

When preparing to write this article I thought back to when and how I learned this skill. Couldn't remember.. so I called my Dad who rememeberd vividly. Apparently when I was about 9 or 10 I came home from a game one day and asked him to teach me. So he made up a sheet with boxes on it.. we turned on the TV, and he taught me how to do it while watching a Mets game. He didn't remember me saying why I wanted to learn but as I think back I can recall just about every kid who played little league baseball knew how to keep the book. I wanted to learn how to do it just like my friends.

Next time you attend a pro, minor league or college game take notice as to how many people are keeping score. Very few. Every pro and nearly every college baseball game provide program books when you enter the gate (either free or for a few dollars). These have a section in the center of the book for keeping score. Yet very few people take advantage of this.

Well it's not to late to learn. Thanks to the internet there are dozens of sites that will help you learn how to keep a proper book. Here are just a few:

Here's a list of suggestions for those who want to learn how to keep the book:

1. Go to the sporting goods store and buy a scorebook. They usually have instructions on how to keep score on the first few pages.

2. Spend some time on the sites listed above. Get familiar with the language of score keeping.

3. Keep the book while your watching games on TV. This is the best way to learn. After your 3rd or 4th game you'll be in good shape.

4. Use the internet as a resource. Even those who consider themselves accomplished score keepers run into scoring situations that are confusing and rare. You can generally find answers on the internet.

5. Once you learn, teach your children. It will keep them interested in the game and it's a skill they will pass down to their children.

6. Volunteer to score for your kids' baseball team. There are few who can do it so it's always welcome when a parent steps up to keep the book.

Let's keep the art of baseball score keeping alive... learn how to do it and pass this important skill on to others.

Coach Bob

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