Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How I Score Games - The Basics

Now that we are less than a week away from the start of the regular season, and I mentioned in my fist posting that I would be scoring every Royals game this season, I figured I'd talk a little bit about that.

Over the past couple seasons I played with a variety of scorecards that I found on the internet, and even a scorebook that I bought from a sporting goods store. While all were pretty good, over the course of scoring lots of games, and then going back during the cold winter months to relive a particular game I'd scored, I found them to be missing some critical information. For me, a scorecard really needed better pitch information to really come alive. I had come across http://www.baseball-reference.com/ awhile back, and decided to incorporate the way they showed pitches into a scorecard of my own design. The pitch short hand that they use, and that I've copied, is as follows:

C = Called Strike
S = Swinging Strike
F = Foul Ball
B = Ball
X = Put into play by batter
T = Foul Tip
K = Strike of Unknown Type (happens when listening to the radio sometimes)
I = Intentional Ball
H = Hit Batter
L = Foul Bunt
M = Missed Bunt Attempt
N = No Pitch (Balk/Interference)
O = Foul Tip on Bunt
P = Pitchout
Q = Swing on Pitchout
R = Foul Ball on Pitchout
U = Unknown or Missed Pitch (again, happens sometimes when listening to the radio)
1 = Pickoff attempt to 1st Base
2 = Pickoff attempt to 2nd Base
3 = Pickoff attempt to 3rd Base
> = Runner going on Pitch
_ = Blocked by Pitcher/Pitch in the dirt
+n = Pickoff attempt from Catcher
, = Marker for play not including the batter (player change)

I've attached a picture that illustrates the above. The picture is from the top of the 1st inning, Indians V Royals, 22APR09. My actual scorecard is done by hand, but since I don't have a scan of it handy, I recreated it here to show what I'm talking about.

If you are familiar with scoring a game, then most of this picture needs no explanation. The twelve boxes below the diamond might however. I try to score every move the pitcher makes during a given at bat so I can accurately replay it later. In this example, Crisp comes up to bat, the first two pitches are called strikes, the third is a ball in the dirt, and on the fourth pitch he puts the ball into play, a double to deep left field. Next, Mike Aviles comes up, takes a called strike, then flies out to right for the first out of the inning, but deep enough to move Crisp to third. David DeJesus comes up to bat, hits the first pitch thrown to him to deep right field for the second out, and Coco scores from third. Last in this example is Billy Butler, he shakes off a couple of early called strikes to end up drawing a walk after a total of 9 pitches thrown to him. This is just a small portion of the entire scorecard, but I think you get the idea. Replayability using this pitch system seems better than what I'd used before.

Just to give you an idea of how my scorecards looked before I went to this system, check this out, same game, same inning, same everything.

It basically gives the same information, and actually it is probably easier to see that the count at one point was 1-2 against Billy Butler, but you can't tell what actually happened on those 3 pitches. Was the first pitch to Billy a swinging strike, a called strike, a foul ball? For me, the first example works better, and gives me what I'd like to see, you might like something entirely different.

So this is where I get back to that part about sharing the scorecards. I'm having some issues with my scanner, and if I can't get them resolved soon I'll just have to go buy another one, as I plan to scan and share all my scorecards on here. If you also score games, and would like to share them as well, scan them in and send them to me. I'm always interested to see how other people do it, and it also gives me the opportunity to go back and replay games that the Royals aren't a part of. Looking forward to seeing some of those cards folks.

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