I can’t quite remember how I learned to keep score at a baseball game, but I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. With the baseball season quickly approaching, (opening day is April 4!) I look forward to another season of Ks, BBs and 6-4-3s scribbled down on a scorecard.
Keeping score at a ballgame is actually pretty extensive. The first thing you’ll need is a notepad that contains blank score sheets, or if you’re at a professional baseball game, simply buy a program. They’re usually only a couple dollars, have some interesting articles and stats, and come with a scorecard.
Once you have your scorecard, it’s important that you put the players’ batting sequence in the correct order (There will be a row for each player’s at-bats). For professional games, the names will always be announced before the game starts. Additionally, you should put the players’ position number next to their name. Here are the numbers that each position is assigned:
First Base- 3
Second Base- 4
Third Base- 5
Left Field- 7
Center Field- 8
Right Field- 9
These numbers will be used during the actual scoring as well. Each position has its own number so that it’s easier to register outs and assists on the scorecard.
When it comes to batting, there are some basic abbreviations that are used.
Strike out swinging- K
Strike out looking- Backward K
Walk (Base on balls)- BB
Stolen base- SB
Now that you know the basics of keeping score, we can do a sample half inning, as there are multiple steps in correctly scoring an at-bat.
Let’s say that John Johnson is the first batter of the game. In your “John Johnson” row, there should be nine squares, one square for each inning. In each square (depending on what kind of score card you get) there could be a faint diamond in the middle of the square, and a place to mark balls and strikes that he sees. However, some scorecards will be just a blank square.
After seeing two balls and two strikes, Johnson hits a single into right field. So, in his square in the first inning, draw a line from home plate to first base, showing he got there safely, and write “1B” next to it.
Next up to bat is Smith, who after only one pitch, hits a fly out to right field that gets caught. In Smith’s box, simply write a 9, indicating that the right fielder single handedly got Smith out. In the bottom of the box, circle a 1 to show that Smith was the first out.
Third to bat is Jones. After one strike, Johnson takes off and successfully steals second base. Going back up to Johnson’s square, draw a line from first base to second base, and write “SB” by that line. Jones eventually sees four balls, and is walked. In Jones’ square, draw a line from home plate to first, and write “BB” next to that line. Johnson stays at second base.
The next batter, Anderson, hits a grounder to the second basemen, who tosses it to the shortstop who throws it to first base, completing the double play. In Anderson’s box, write 4-6-3, as the play went from second to short to first. (Another example of this: if the pitcher threw out someone at third, it would be 1-5.) Going back to Jones’ square, circle a 2 in his box since he was the second out, and circle a 3 in Anderson’s box since he was the last out. Once the inning is over, draw a slash line in the lower right-hand corner of the last out’s box. Start the next inning in the second inning’s column, and with the next batter.
Theoretically, if Johnson was able to score that inning, you would draw a line from second to third base when he reached there, and once again connecting third to home when he scored. Once a person scores, color in the diamond, signaling a run.
These are just the basics of scoring, and the numbers and abbreviations become more familiar the more games you score.
Baseball and softball coaches keep score in order to accurately remember the accounts of previous games, and then develop strategies on how to play against them again. Fans at home and at the ballpark keep score because it’s a fun way to be more involved in the game.
Opening Day is coming, so impress everyone with your scoring skills and give it a s