Have you ever tried scoring a baseball game with a paper and pencil? This age-old tradition can be traced back to the origins of baseball and can also be an extremely fun way to get more involved in the game. Plus, keeping score on a physical scorecard results in a souvenir from the game– one that doesn’t break the bank.
If you’ve seen fans keeping score by hand and find the whole process wildly confusing, don’t worry! Scoring a baseball game is actually incredibly easy, but it is fairly precise. We put together a handy little baseball scoring reference sheet to help you get started. Virtually everything you need to do to keep score at a baseball game can be found in these brief and succinct guided steps.
Let’s check out how to score a baseball game!
1. Get Your Card (and Other Supplies)
To start, obviously, you’ll need a scorecard. In most nationally recognized games at baseball stadiums, scorecards are available wherever you can purchase merchandise in the actual stadium. However, these cards cost money– anywhere from $2 to $4 per card. That’s a lot of money to drop on a simple scorecard.
Luckily, there are places where you can print your own scorecard from home. Baseball-almanac.com and Baseballscorecard.com are two great resources to find scorecards. You can also find entire scorebooks for sale.
Once you have your scorecard, gather your only other supply– a pencil with an eraser. Get your card ready by writing both teams’ batting line-up on the left side of the card, under “Player” or “Batter.” Make sure to include each player’s position number (usually listed under “Pos” or “Position”) and well as each player’s jersey number (usually listed under “Num” or “#”).
2. Learn the Code of Baseball Scoring
Baseball scoring features a shorthand code of sorts that was developed to make scoring a little bit easier at baseball games. Between sipping beer and getting very physically involved in cheering for your team, it would be an inconvenience to have to writer out a tone of different words.
Luckily, this baseball score code is extremely easy to remember. If you’re not a fan of it, you can easily make your own code for scoring baseball. Regardless, the standard method is as follows.
Position numbers are assigned to each position. These specific numbers are to be used when writing down fielding plays.
- Designated hitter: DH
- Right field: 9
- Center field: 8
- Left field: 7
- Shortstop: 6
- Third base: 5
- Second base: 4
- First base: 3
- Catcher: 2
- Pitcher: 1
When a batter is up against a pitcher, you’ll want to keep track of what he does. This shorthand is commonly used for marking pitch results.
- Strikeout: K
- Looking strikeout: Backwards K or “ꓘ”
- Walked: BB (short for “base on balls”)
- Single: 1B
- Double: 2B
- Tripple: 3B
- Homerun: HR
- Flyout: F
- Double play: DP
3. Begin Keeping Score of the Game
Now that your card is ready and you’ve memorized the proper shorthand, it’s time to start keeping score of the game!
On your scorecard, each player has their own row of little squares with diamonds in the center. These little squares are used to keep track of the batter’s progress throughout the game.
If a batter happens to hit a single, you would write 1B on the outside of the diamond (typically in the bottom right corner) and darken the straight line from first base to second base with your pencil. You’ll continue to do this until the runner reaches home base.
If a batter happens to strike out, you would write a K in the center of the diamond. If that batter happened to be the first out, you would write the number 1 with a circle around it in the bottom left corner of the square next to the diamond. For all outs that occur after, you would use this same formula.
If the batter happens to make an out after hitting the ball, you’ll need to record how the play occurred. For example, say a player hit a grounder and the pitcher ended up fielding it and throwing it to the first base. This out would be recorded by writing something like “1-3” in the center of the diamond. This numerology will indicate that the pitcher fielded the ball first before throwing it to first base.
Now, we need to figure out how to record double plays. If a player (let’s called him Bob) is at first base after hitting a single, the scorecard for Bob will simply have 1B in the bottom right corner and a darkened line to first base. Now, another batter (let’s call him John) comes up to bat and ends up hitting a grounder to the shortstop. The shortstop throws the ball to second, getting John out. We’ll need to record that Bob got out at second base on a grounder by John. We’ll do this by writing John’s jersey number next to the line that got Bob out.
On John’s row, one would write the fielding sequence within the diamond. In this case, it would be 6-4-2. A 2 with a circle around it would go in the bottom left corner, signifying that he was the second out. About the numbers, you would write DP to indicate the double play John caused.
If a batter happens to fly out, you would write F plus the jersey number of the fielder who caught the ball. If a runner gets tagged or forced out, make sure to draw a line halfway to the base they were aiming for.
And that is, more or less, the basics of scoring!
4. Make Your Scorecard Your Own
Congratulations, you’ve got all of the basics of hand-scoring a baseball game down! Once you’ve effectively memorized and applied these basics, you can get creative and add your own flair to keeping track of baseball scores. Realistically, there isn’t a wrong way to keep track of a game. The real benefit of self-scoring comes from finding the proper system that can help you keep track of the game’s progress quickly and easily.
How was our guide to scoring a baseball game by hand? Do you feel a little more confident about keeping score at your favorite team’s next game? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
Photo source: Pixabay