Little did I know…

My daughter has played little league softball for years, and somehow, I’ve avoided volunteering for anything all this time. I’ve never been a “team mom.” I’ve never raked an infield or created chalk lines. I’ve paid teenagers a pittance to take on my concession stand duties. I’ve bought the whole damn box of fundraising candy bars and distributed them free to beggars. (Well, the ones I didn’t personally eat. The candy bars, not the beggars. And where “beggars” are defined as trick-or-treaters or anyone else I can pawn the damned things off on.)

In an inexplicable and unprecedented paroxysm of guilt and stupidity during the most recent call for volunteers, I raised my hand when no one else volunteered to fill the position of team scorekeeper. “How hard can it be?” I thought. I can count the damned kids when they cross the plate. I should have realized by the surprised reaction of several people—including the team manager and my daughter—that this was a huge mistake while there was still time to back out.

My MLB-loving, baseball stat-encyclopedia husband wasn’t there to stop me, but when I told him I was going to be the scorekeeper, this is what he said: “Hahahahahahaha!” As it turns out, there’s a lot more to it than counting runs and calculating simple sums. For example, the image below is not the Mars Rover schematics I first took it for but rather the scorekeeper’s sheet:

image

Fuck! Also, you have to know what things like “Fielder’s Choice” and “Pass Ball” are. And when things are “errors” and “assists” and the code to record who did what. And you have to keep track of rosters and substitutions for both teams. And you have to politely repel angry grandmas who insist you’re fucking up the error assignment, even though it’s only a goddamn scrimmage game, so she should shut the fuck up or volunteer to do it herself. And you can’t enjoy watching your own kid play because every second you have to track every fucking activity occurring on the field, with no breaks to pee or get a drink, which you’ll dearly wish was vodka instead of tepid water.

Man, this sucks! I found a tablet app for scorekeeping, but the league officials shot that idea down because they want their precious stats in their precious spiral notebooks. I have to keep score this afternoon for reals this time. Please keep me in your thoughts.

[X-POSTED at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 03/03/12 at 10:01 AM • Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousSports

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Oh, Honey.

That would be what hell is like for me. Stats, angry parents, and paying attention to a sporting event.

You have my deepest sympathy and if I were you, I’d be looking up some medical symptoms that will let you get out of this, pronto.

It helps if you know the abbreviations - K for strikeout, BB for base on balls, etc.

A really handy abbreviation invented by former Yankee shortstop and announcer Phil Rizutto is WW, which stands for “wasn’t watching”.

It’s a real mess when there are lots of substitutions. When I got roped into scorekeeping for Little League I watched a bunch of games on TV and practiced. It was tough, and I even played in college.

Just hope for a lot of simple outs. And get somebody else to do pitch counts.

To quote Mr. Cracker: “Hahahahahahaha!”

A little advice: Next time wait to drink your bourbon until after the team/volunteer meeting, Betty.

This should be good.

Also, my condolences to Miss Cracker for the humiliation she will have to endure.

Oh, I feel very, very bad for you.  I kept score one season for PeeWee hockey.  At least softball is SLOWER than hockey, but that’s not gonna help much.

Maybe you could pay someone to do it, like at the food stand?

Don’t sweat this, it really isn’t that hard. The only time I ever got confused was the tenth frame, which is the one were you just add everything that came before.

“Hahahahahahaha!” I was already guffawing before I even reached that part of your wonderful tale.

You’re correct on the “pay attention to every damn thing” angle and as you are inexperienced I hope you bring one of those trapezoid erasers we had in school and a whole regiment of No. 2s, you’re gonna need both.

Still chucklin’

Oh, while I am chuckling, a few tips—as pointed out above use K for strike out unless it was a swinging strikeout then you use a reverse K; walks are BB and my system was 1B for single, 2B for double, 3B for triple and HR for the dinger and FC for fielder’s choice which is when the defensive player throws to a base other than first to record an out and the batter reaches safely, unless of course it’s a passed ball wild pitch or a dropped third strike (they also affect stolen bases) which have their won codes and of course you’ll have to determine whether or not a run scored was an earned run or an unearned run becsue you don’t want grandma AND grandpa (who played two seasons with the Single-A South Mollyswamp Macaroons in 1967) on your ass for runining li’l Heather’s ERA and that of course, leads us to RBI including whether or not the run scored on a fielder’s choice, an error a batted ball or a sacrifice.

That leaves us with the infield fly rule but enough of pedantics for all love.

Those “1B” “2B” etc. seem moot, what with those little diamonds lovingly etched into each little box.  I guess you have to note where the batter ended up if he/she gets a hit.  Are hi-powered magnifying lenses included?

Nooooooo, you see you use the pencil to trace along the lines as the batter advances around the diamond and squeeze all your notations in the open middle space and when they score you color in the whole diamond which necessarily covers up your carefully notated notes.

Now, back to the infield fly rule ...

Now, back to the infield fly rule ...

Okay, THIS one I know.  Betty, the infield fly rule holds that, if a fly bothers anyone in the infield, he or she may kill it without be called for interfering with play, being off base, etc.

Of course you won’t have to worry about that.  Eventually, though, You may have to worry about the infield cuban tree frog rule, which is still being held up in committee.

Here’s your excuse, Betty…Tourette! Just claim that the sensory overload aggravates your Tourette Syndrome. That way you can curse like a sailor for one game and then be excused for medical reasons.

And don’t worry about the ‘error’ thing, and parents getting pissed at you. The basic rule of thumb in deciding whether it’s an error is: “would the average 6 year old be able to make this play?”. Of course the answer is always no, which is why there’s a mercy rule when teams are losing by 35 runs.

I once got roped into keeping score for a game of Mornington Crescent.  The rule books alone took up a room.

My husband and I watched all three of our children play in Little League when they were young so we kinda knew where you were going with your first sentence, but I elected to read it to him anyway. Needless to say, you had us both laughing so hard I almost couldn’t finish!

While my heart truly goes out to you, and I do indeed wish you the very best in this endeavor, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving us something to read that was a rare, uplifting piece of prose!

Thanks for the tips and encouragement, everyone! It actually went pretty well but was just as big of a pain in the arse as I feared.

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