Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why am I Here?

Well, where to start? Let's start near the beginning. I was raised in western South Dakota and there are no professional sports teams to speak of in that area. So my interest in sports was mainly in the ones accessible through school, basketball, football, and track. Baseball was not something I ever played growing up, sure I played "catch" with a buddy once in awhile, seeing who could chuck a ball the furthest, and it was entertaining for an afternoon. However the ability to actually play, or watch, a game was limited at best. I would have rather been outside running rampant through the woods than sitting inside watching something as boring as baseball on television.

Jump forward about 15 years. I have served my country with the US ARMY, lived all over the world, and seen many places and things. The backwoods of South Dakota seem a long ways away from where I am now. I'm living in the Kansas City area, and while I've become a big fan of the local football team, baseball is still a little too slow for my taste.

Four years after moving to Kansas City, some friends invited me to join them at Kauffman Stadium for a game. I figured what the heck, beautiful weather, a few adult beverages, some time with friends, sounds like fun. Little did I know how fun it would be. It was July 23, 2005, Royals V Blue Jays, evening game. The weather was absolutely fantastic and the ball field was one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen in my life. We sat up in some nosebleed cheap seats, watched the game and had a great time. Even though the Royals ended up losing that game 9-4, I was hooked, and I was determined to learn more about this beautiful game.

For the next few months I spent alot of time on the internet learning more and more about the Royals, and baseball in general. I bought a few books to read, and watched every Royals game I was able to that year. After the season ended, and there was no longer a ball game to be watched every night, I felt like there was something missing from my baseball experience/education. I had noticed during the Royals broadcast there would at times be these cryptic graphics show up on the bottom of the screen when a player came up to bat. What the heck did that stuff mean? Back to the internet I go, and very quickly an entirely new part of the baseball experience is opened before my eyes.

Scoring a baseball game seemed like the perfect way for me to learn more. So I found a few scorecards online that I could download and print out and got myself prepared for the 2006 season by watching a few replayed games over the winter and attempting to score them. Scoring was fairly easy for the most part, until I was watching a game and some odd things happened. How do you score a rundown when the guy is caught between 3rd and home and 5 guys had touched the ball to get the out? I persevered, learned alot, and discovered that I really enjoyed scoring games.

I went through about 6 or 7 different scorecards that I found online that year, and found that none of them gave me the re-playability of a game that I desired when I went back to look at a game from months before. What was missing? The ability to know that the 3rd pitch was a called strike, not a foul ball, or a swinging strike. That the pitcher had thrown to first to hold a runner on, etc. Those were the things that to me, helped bring a game to life months or years later when looking at a scorecard. During my time in learning to score games I had stumbled upon a terrific website full of information http://www.baseball-reference.com/. If you went to the boxscore of a game, you could see the exact information that I felt was missing from my scorecards. So of course, I designed my own printable scorecard and incorporated an area for that information. I was set.

Now that you've read a little of my personal discovery of baseball, and how to score a game, why am I writing a blog? I just want to share my enjoyment of the game with others, and hopefully they will share with me also. I intend to score every game of the Royals 2010 season on my own printable scorecards, and share them here. I have no idea if anyone else but me is interested in these things, but I love seeing how other folks score a game. It's also a great way for me to pull up a game from the past, sit down for an hour, and replay it in my head. Call it therapy through baseball. :)

I do have a few other interests in baseball, but I'll save those for another posting. If you would like to share your scorecards from your home teams for the 2010 season, or previous seasons, by all means scan-em and post-em, I'd love to see them.

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