An affront to

The May 30 issue of Sports Illustrated had to be forwarded to my new address, so I only received it just today. So Steve Rushin’s column about keeping score at baseball games only just now came to my attention. This passage is of particular concern: “Those of us who keep score have joined Trekkies and train fanatics — known as ‘foamers’ in the railroad industry — in the pantheon of get-a-lifers.”

So let’s see: I know how to score baseball games and do it occasionally, Levi knows how to score baseball games and does it religiously, Levi has obviously seen “Star Trek” a few times since he often refers to me as James Tiberius Ellwanger for no good reason, and, of course, my enjoyment of trains has reached legendary status.

Original comments…

Levi: Aside from the personal slam, I have to take issue with this guy. At Wrigley Field, I regularly see people in my section keeping score. Some of them are the group of season ticket holders I’ve gotten to know over the past seven years, who are clearly dedicated fans, but I also see a lot of people with the scorecard and pencil they’ve bought on the way in, obviously not veteran scorers, but enjoying the game that way anyway.

Last week, I even had a stranger who showed up an inning late borrow my book for a minute fill in his card. I had to help him decipher my handwriting.

Survey says . . .

At Saturday’s Cubs/Mets game at chilly Wrigley Field, there was a play that I didn’t have any idea how to score. I don’t have my scorebook in front of me, so you’ll have to bear with me–I might be wrong about which player did what–but here’s the basics:

Todd Walker was at first base with one out. Corey Patterson hit a bouncer to second baseman Super-Joe McEwing. While fielding the ball, McEwing was in the basepath, where, in the process of fielding, he has the right to be. Walker’s choices were to stop, crash into McEwing, or go around him. He chose to go around, at which point he was called out by the second-base ump for going out of the baseline.

It was the correct call, but how was I to score it? Was Walker out 4 unassisted? Or is there a special notation, like the single Japanese character Scott Sepich noticed a Japanese journalist using for a 6-4-3 double play?

I think I need the opinion of an official scorer. To the Baggarlyphone! Maybe Andy can ask the Giants’ scorer for me, if he doesn’t know himself.

Original comments…

Toby: Levi, I believe the indication is OOBP. You would draw a perpendicular line halting the runner’s path between first and second. And no, I don’t think McEwing gets that put-out.


Levi: Thanks, Toby. That makes far more sense than anything my friend Michelle and I came up with at the game. My excuse is that it was too damn cold to think.

baggarly: never fear. the runner indeed is called out for running out of the basepath. score the play a fielder’s choice, the runner is out 4 unassisted.

next week, kids, catcher’s interference!

baggarly: actually a smart play by the runner, since if he’d been tagged, i’m guessing the mets turn a double play (which, as all us budding official scorers know, you can never assume).

Levi: Thanks, Baggs.

If Walker had crashed into McEwing, he would have been out for interference, right?