This is your trusty friend for keeping track of the game. This section won’t tell you how to keep score—for the simple reason that every person has a different way of keeping score. Some add notes, some do it by examples provided in their scorebook, some have special codes they put in, it all depends on who is keeping score. Find one system you like to use and use it. It’s ok to experiment with different books and formats until you find one you like. It is very possible to create a score page on your computer or with an app. Try different methods to see what works best for you. You may want to watch a game on TV or attend a game in person to try your various scoring methods to see which works best for you.
Write down the starting line-ups for each team in the designated spots in the book. Then, as each batter comes up to the plate and completes their at bat, mark down what the batter did or simply mark an “X” in the box if you’re not comfortable yet with all of the codes. You can also use the scorebook to track pronunciations of players in the starting line-up. We recommend using a scorebook with at least three slots per position in the batting order, this way, you’ll be able to keep a note or two and still have room for substitutions.
Depending on how much room you have in your scorebook, you can also write down who the courtesy runners will be in the slots they will most likely be running. You can also write these down in the margins so you have the information when you need it. If you are keeping track of stats, the courtesy runner gets credit for anything they do on the basepaths so if the batter doubles, the courtesy runner steals third and scores, give the stolen base and run scored to the courtesy runner and not the batter.
During the game, you’ll want to track the number of runs, hits, errors, and runners left on base in each inning. If you’re comfortable, you can announce that rundown after each inning and is easily tracked in your scorebook. If you do not have a scorebook, an in-game assistance sheet at the end of this section is included to help you.
When using this sheet, use tick marks each time there is a run, hit, and/or an error so that way you can easily total them up at the end of the inning then write down the whole number in the box at the end of the inning. This will make it easier to total up all the totals at the end of the game. You can even total up the numbers as the game goes on or wait until the last inning has started so you can be quick to announce the end of game totals.
”For the Cavaliers in the fifth, no runs, two hits, no errors and two runners left on base”.
This also comes in handy for people who are keeping score themselves who want to recap the inning and want to know the “official” call on the plays.
If you are without a scoreboard, you can even announce the score at the end of each half inning. Just add, “…Score after five complete, Cavaliers two, Rebels one”. If you are at a half-inning—also known as middle of an inning or after the visiting team bats in an inning—you’ll announce, “…after four-and-a-half innings…” Of course you’ll insert the correct inning number in place of those in the example. Remember, if you are in the fifth inning and the visiting team just batted, you are through four-and-a-half innings, not five-and-a-half.
The scorebook is a great way to keep all of the information you need to know and need to announce organized in one small, neat area.
The Difference Between a Hit and an Error
One mistake we’ve seen from a lot of people in keeping track of inning stats is the difference between a hit and an error. A hit simply doesn’t mean the batter reached base. There are times the batter hits the ball and a play is made on another runner at another base, this is fielder’s choice and not scored as a hit.
A hit is a ball that allows the batter AND runners to advance safely (batter to first, each runner the next base in which they are entitled), unless a defensive error allowed that runner to reach, or another base runner to advance. A defensive error includes throwing the ball away, misplaying the ball and having it get by the fielder, a fielder allowing the ball through their legs, dropping a fly ball, etc. The rule of thumb on applying the error is, if it would have been a nice play had the defense made it, score it as a hit. If the shortstop makes a beautiful diving play to knock down a hard line drive, gets up and throws the ball over the first baseman’s head, score the play a hit. Now, if the throw allowed the runner to advance to second, then you award a hit and an error on the throw.
There are many other intricacies associated with scoring a baseball game, but this will help guide you into better understanding the difference between a hit and an error. You can always find more information on scorekeeping a game by searching the Internet or by calling your local Major League or Minor League baseball team and asking if you could speak with the official scorer to learn more. It’s tougher to get in contact with the Major League official scorers so if you live in a town with a Minor League Baseball team—it is still professional baseball—give them a call.