Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Keeping Score With A Rookie

Before I say anything, I have to talk about the last two games. Monday’s game looked more like the D’Backs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but a win is a win. Last night brought some fireworks with the bats, which is entertaining since there was a lot of moaning and groaning before the game about what looked like a terrible lineup! That’s one of the things I love about baseball – you absolutely never know what will happen until the last pitch is thrown.


So I have a little special something for all of you today – a guest writer! I suppose that’s unfair since she’s not a writer at all. In fact, she is my baby sister, Rachel. The two of us braved the heat on Sunday in Kansas City, and despite the horrible outcome of the game, we had some fun. She only wanted to see three things: a stolen base (she saw three!), a Cardinals win (well…), and she wanted to learn how to keep score.


Keeping score is becoming a lost art form in my mind, so I enjoyed teaching her all the crazy ins and outs of the process. Because of that, she wanted to share a few things she learned. Remember – she’s not a writer, so be nice! :)

On Sunday afternoon my sister Angela and I went to game three of the Cardinals/Royals series.  While I have been to many games at Kauffman Stadium, I have never kept score.  My sister therefore decided that we should keep score for Sunday’s game.  I made several mistakes on my scorecard, and because of that I came up with nine things any fan needs to know before keeping score at a baseball game. So here are my nine tips for rookie score keepers:

1.  Pay attention to the starting lineup.  It is definitely not good when you skip over Albert Pujols and your scorecard ends up with scribbles on it before the game even starts.  This also can mess you up later in the game if – like me – you end up with no room to write in another players’ name when there is a change in the lineup.

Inside jokes? Probably,
but it makes me laugh!

2.  When recording the starting lineup, feel free to use nicknames.  I chose to use my sister’s nicknames because I found them highly amusing.  They made my scorecard a lot more interesting and the game a lot more fun. (Check out her lineup on the right!)


3.  Pay attention to the inning numbers.  Several times on my scorecard I recorded a play in the wrong column because I forgot that it was a new inning.   Along with that, when players at the bottom and top of the order are batting, make sure that you record them in the same inning and do not start recording the top of the order in the next inning.

4.  Each player on the field is given a number. This starts with the pitcher, then the catcher, and then it moves around the bases and into the outfield, ending with right field.  This number is used when recording who made the out.  For instance, if the batter flies out to the left fielder, you would record a number 7 for that player’s at bat.

5.  The shortstop’s number is not 5. It is 6.  The order goes first, second, third, and then shortstop.

6.  When recording a strikeout, you use the symbol K. Sometimes you record it backwards instead of forwards.  This happens depending on whether or not the batter swings or strikes out looking.  If the batter strikes out swinging you would use a forward K, then if the batter strikes out looking you would use the backwards K.

7. I learned several shorthands that are used while keeping score.  The first one that I learned was actually in the first play of the game – a hit by pitch. It was marked as HBP.  The next one is one that I had trouble with.  I assumed that a walk would be labeled with a W, but that stands for win.  Instead a walk is marked as BB for base on balls.  Along with that, an intentional walk is labeled as IBB.

8.  Some more shorthands that I learned include FO and FC which stand for force out and fielder’s choice.  I had some trouble recognizing the difference between these two, but I learned that a force out is recorded when a batter makes it on base but then is thrown out trying to advance to the next base.   A fielder’s choice, however, happens when the fielder chooses who they are going to throw out.  If there is already one runner on base they could decide to throw that runner out instead of throwing the ball to first to get the batting runner out. I think.

9.  The final thing a rookie score keeper needs to know is what to do when a pitcher leaves the game.  The most confusing part of the totaling process is the runs and the earned runs.  If a pitcher leaves in the middle of the inning and there are runners on the bases the pitcher can have more runs added to his total even after he has left the game.  If the runners that the exiting pitcher put on base score, then their runs also count towards the first pitcher’s total runs.
A finished product. Nice job rookie!


The third game for the Cards and Diamondbacks battle starts at 1:15PM this afternoon. Here’s to Jeff Suppan finishing off the… you know what. I’m not going to be the one blamed for jinxing it!

4 responses to “Keeping Score With A Rookie

  1. @loidz45 June 30, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    >Great article. I too feel that the art of score keeping has gone by the wayside. Glad you had fun at the game. Also we fans appreciate you not saying the "you know what" word.

  2. Charkat June 30, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    >Former Yankees player and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto used another abbreviation on his scorecard: WW….Wasn't Watching. It can come in handy sometimes. :-)

  3. Angela W July 1, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    >loidz45 – Well I tried anyway!Charkat – Thanks for the note! I had remembered that one, but couldn't remember where it came from. I almost had to use it once myself on Sunday! ;)

  4. Janice July 2, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    >You have discussed nine tips for rookie score keepers. So all those players must consider all these points so as to win the game.

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