Keeping score of a baseball game is, in some ways, becoming as outdated as the rotary telephone.
After all, countless web sites provide real-time statistics that tell you not only whether someone reached base on a hit or error, but also the type of pitch the pitcher threw, the velocity of that pitch and the exit speed of the ball off the hitter’s bat.
So who needs a nearly illegible series of etchings on a mustard-stained scoresheet anymore?
Well, kids, for one.
Attend any baseball game and you can see that keeping score isn’t an entirely lost art. And it certainly provides school-age children a series of tools to sharpen their mathematical and deductive skills.
This week, with the World Series taking the prominent spot in our sporting conscience, it’s a prime time to get in touch with this lost art, and discover why it’s a positive for young minds.
A baseball game consists of dozens of plays and a fairly set formula that determines a victor. The winning team, of course, must score more runs than its opponent. It also has to record 27 outs over nine innings to do so. And the scoresheet is a running account of that saga.
It’s a great way to get a child engaged in an event that nowadays is more a three-hour commercial interspersed with a bit of action. As my 9-year-old daughter scored one of the games in the recent American League Championshp Series, I noticed it’s far more than just etchings on a piece of paper.
It’s a story unfolding in real time: Who got the big hit? Why did that pitcher come out of the game? How did the opposing team get three outs when my scoresheet indicates they only got two?
Well, all of these questions have an answer. And everything adds up in the end. All of that provides a strong impetus for children to pay attention, stay engaged, and realize they have a stronger ability to deduce outcomes and figure things out than they ever imagined.
As for those aforementioned real-time score trackers that would ostensibly render scorekeeping obsolete? Well, they are a wonderful complement to the process, enabling the young scorer to get up to speed on plays they might have missed while having a snack, or while their parent tried to avert their eyes from a Cialis commercial.
In fact, after a few innings my daughter said the words that have been uttered in press boxes throughout the land, for decades on end, by reporters who might have gotten a little too lazy with their scoresheet.
“Daddy,” she asked. “Can you catch me up?”