When I watch baseball, I like to keep score. Admittedly,
many people find this strange (since many people find baseball
to be deathly boring), but I think it helps to keep me
concentrated and focused. Plus, I can look
at old scorecards
from the years past and relive some of the great plays or
pivotal games that I've seen.
A baseball scorecard is a piece of paper with a pair of
tables on it.
Most of the table cells have a small diamond drawn
in the middle which is a schematic representation of the
baseball diamond. The players names go into the
far-left cells, in their proper batting order. There is
one table row per position in the batting order (not
per player since players can be replaced in the middle
of a game) and each table column represents an inning.
Each cell in the table represents an at-bat.
Each team's at-bats are recorded in that
The first thing to do is to remember how the
fielding positions are numbered. This is
because ballplayers are not referred to by name
on a scorecard, but rather they're referred to by position.
pretend that there's any rhyme or reason behind the numbering
scheme, but here it is:
- First Base
- Second Base
- Third Base
- Left Field
- Center Field
- Right Field
The scorecard starts in the upper-right corner of the table
(first innging, first batter) and moves down as the inning
progresses and to the right as the game goes on.
If the batter makes an out: A strikeout is recorded
as a 'K' (some people use a 'K' for a swinging strikeout and
a 'backwards-K' for a called strikeout). Otherwise the position
numbers of the players who made the out are written down.
If the batter gets on base: Draw a line from on the
small diamond from home plate (the bottom of the diamond),
counter-clockwise around the diamond to the base the batter
stopped at. I like to put a little circle at that point to
emphasize that that's where the batter stopped. So for a
single you'd draw a line from home to first base, a double
from home through first base to second base and
Next to the line (but outside of the diamond), put down the type
of hit (W = walk, S = single, D = double, T = triple and
H = home run)
and the position number of the player or players that fielded
If a base runner makes an out: Draw a line from the
base the runner was on to the mid-point to the next base. I
like to cap the line segment to emphasize that the runner was
stopped before reaching the next base. Write down the position
numbers of the fielders who got the out next to the line.
If a base runner advances: Draw a line from
the base the runner started at, clockwise around the diamond
to the base the runner stopped on. Next to this line, write
down the batting position (in the batting order) of the player
who was at-bat at the time the runner advanced. For
example, if the third batter got a single and the fourth (clean-up)
batter got another single during which the third batter ran
from first base to third base, you'd draw a line from first base,
through second base and down to third base and write the number
'4' above that line.
If a runner makes it all the way to home plate and scores
a run, I like to fill in the diamond to highlight it.
Those are the basics of keeping score at a baseball game. There are
many variations and refinements (which usually
are modifiers of the basic scheme above; using P to
denote a pop-fly and B for bunt, etc.) but this should be
sufficient to get you started.