The summer of baseball.
Well, that’s what I am calling it at least. I have a goal of hitting at least 10 stadiums this summer. They will mostly be minor league games (there’s only once on the schedule, so far, of the major league variety), which is the type of baseball I truly love.
I was speaking with somebody this week about baseball and watching games. The discussion was just sports based and he was telling me about some amazingly cool experiences he’s had, but more with basketball. The conversation switched to baseball and I mentioned how I am true baseball nut — and carry scorebook with me to every game.
He noted that I truly went for the geekdom.
Yes, yes I do.
The reality is, I’ve always been a baseball geek.
When you are a fan of sports, it’s often a situation where you lean toward one or another sport. I’m no different. Many of my friends are football first, the rest after. I have some die-hard hockey fans. Even soccer. But for me? Baseball. It always has been and always will be.
My love affair with the game goes back many years.
I didn’t see my first MLB game until I was an adult, but I remember a lot of watching the game on TV. In my area, when growing up, we got several stations for different teams — most notably WPIX (Yankees), TV 38 (Red Sox) TBS (Braves) and WOR (Mets). The funny part is I disliked them all. Though I still remember the old Yankees jingle on WPIX and I remember lounging on Sundays in the summer watching baseball.
Add to that was playing sandlot baseball. I’d ride my bike with a glove dangled over the handlebars. I usually carried this old, dented up orange bat, too. A pickup game could happen anywhere. It was quite awesome.
So, needless to say, my love of the game goes deep. I’m a believer that football season doesn’t start until baseball ends. Sure, I’ll check scores and maybe see part of a game, but I like watching baseball way more.
And, of course, there’s baseball on the radio — which is always amazingly awesome.
Back to the geekdom, though.
I’m not sure if you ever notice, but at some baseball games people keep scorebooks. I’m one of them. It is a way to stay in tune with the game as it unfolds and, if you keep the book or scorecard, you have a record of where you’ve been or who you’ve seen play. I wish I had kept scorecards from over the years as I’ve seen some amazingly awesome players. But in recent years, I truly like the minor league game, and I try and see as many as I can during a summer. At the end of last year, I backed the Eephus League Halfliner on Kickstarter and that has since become my scorebook I carry to each game. It holds 81 games, so I don’t see me filling it too soon.
Originally, I wanted a smaller scorebook, which is how I found the Eephus League (I received on of the smaller ones, too, but have yet to use it) because it’s how old sportswriters used to do it. I’d love to still find one of the old-school scorebooks the old journalists used. They are pretty cool items. The Halfliner, however, really is perfect for somebody who wants to keep score, have a little extra space and have something easy to carry from game to game. For me, it’s perfect. The original Eephus League scorebook is solid, too, but its smaller and only holds 20 games. It will be nice to use in a pinch and could be perfect for somebody who likes a minimal approach to scorekeeping (which I often do, but I really do like having some extra spaces etc.)
I don’t just travel with the scorecard, however. I also carry a map of every baseball team in the country and the Baseball America Prospect Guide. This is, of course, a way to keep track of the players I see during the course of a season.
A few weeks ago, I went to a game in Binghamton. Not far from me was an older couple and the gentleman was keeping score. However, he had a folded up piece of paper and was writing in pen. He had created a mini scorecard and had his own ways of scoring — which many of us who score d0. I had to talk to him so I chatted for a few minutes and he told me he did it to keep in tune with the game and see what unfolded.
Unfortunately, scoring a game in the stands is a dying art form. There’s always other things going on, whether promotions, kids games, or whatever else. That makes it hard to teach the next generation of baseball fans what it’s like to keep score at a game. I have even seen some kids scorecards out there, so maybe there’s some hope. I have a new nephew and maybe one day I’ll be able to show him why keeping a scorecard is such a good thing.
This summer is one of baseball. My goal is to hit a minimum of 10 stadiums (three so far) and I’ll be keeping score at each one, as well as blogging about each stadium. I’ve hit three stadiums already with a couple more planned for this weekend, weather pending.
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