Last night I went to the Texas Rangers game against the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers won in dramatic fashion scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth after two were out! The Mariners had this “one in the bag” but committed a very costly error on a underhand toss to second by the shortstop that would have ended the game. Same thing happened at Texas Tech the prior day. Dallas Baptist had the game wrapped up but made a costly error on a routine ground ball to third. Just goes to show that you have to have it “between the ears” to be successful in this game!
People that have been reading regularly know that I am struggling a little bit with writing profiles. I haven’t done them consistently for awhile. Yesterday I took the pressure completely off myself and decided to go to the game, get a cheap ticket, listen to the game on the radio while I kept “book”. I have never listened to a game on the radio while I was at a game. My friend Brian Roberts told me he always does it. In addition, I have never kept score of a game while there, I didn’t see the point, the scoreboard had all that information. I have seen guys doing this for as long as I can remember at games (I thought they were baseball dorks, nerds, cupcakes). Well, I wanted to experience a game from their perspective. I have kept “book” when I was younger at softball games and recreational basketball leagues, but I got a small stipend to do it. In all my “dorkiness” I purchased a game program, was given a pencil, I found my seat (nose bleed central) and tuned my IPod to the correct FM station. My IPod doesn’t do AM (that or I don’t know how to tune it in) I was relieved that the Rangers broadcast over FM.
I listened to the pregame show and liked what I heard from Ron Washington manager of the Rangers on what he was looking to accomplish in the game. Now I was going to pay attention to that, he said it was going to be a pitching duel between Yu Darvish and Felix Hernandez. I could have told you that but as a “simple” fan and not knowing the Rangers intimately, I didn’t know that Darvish has not gotten any run support in his last 2 starts. When I say no run support, I mean the Rangers haven’t scored any runs while he pitched, a big NOTHING BURGER! I made a mental note to “will” some runs for Yu. I had to get myself situated in my seat, make sure things were dialed in and writing utensil was sharpened (was worried about how small the box was that you kept score in for each player, I write big, had to adjust). I wasn’t prepared for the first pitch, I hadn’t filled out my scorecard with lineups, I was going to do it as I went along since I didn’t have a good view of the scoreboard, it was to my right so I only saw it at an angle. I had moments of panic initially because I forgot how to keep book. The program gave some directions but for the most part you were on your own.
As the game went on and I was hearing what the announcers were saying on the radio, I got more comfortable with my book keeping skills. I became engrossed in the game, figuring out what to look for and checking up-coming batters. I felt like I was in the “zone”. I didn’t pay attention to anything that was happening around me, except when the fans started doing the wave, “amateurs” I thought to myself. I was becoming a professional baseball fan, “sit down” I wanted to say. Plus, the rude interruptions when they went to get their $1 hotdogs. The Rangers didn’t think about guys like me when they planned that promotion! I saw the funny looks, the goofy smirks, but I didn’t care, this game was all about me. I could tell the dude with the” hot” girlfriend how many pitches Yu Darvish threw last inning, that rookie Nick Franklin of the Mariners stuck out twice, once looking! Yeah, I can see why guys do this. The game was flying by, but I was frustrated by the lack of space I was given in my program. I daydreamed about purchasing my own score book, one that I could get really detailed with. I loved the fact that I knew what a backward K meant (if you don’t know, it means that the batter struck out looking, now you know). Yeah, I could be a “score keeping cupcake” this was useful data, teams need guys like me. Reality set in when I realized that my friend “Eggo” knew how to utilize all this back in high school. He can quote stats inside, outside, and backwards. I finally understand his enjoyment of it all.
I will definitely keep “book” again at a baseball game. I enjoyed it a lot. Listening to the radio announcers at the game is highly recommended, I loved every minute of it! “Eggo”, I sincerely understand your love of tracking stats and keeping book. You probably know how to utilize the information more than I ever will. To all the baseball “dorks” I have made fun of as I have seen you scribbling away at a game, I apologize. We are now brothers of the score keeping universe. My final thought, make sure that you have a three or four sharp pencils if you are going to attempt to do this saving one as a potential weapon in case the wave gets out of control and you can’t see the game.
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