31 July 2009

Time To Go To Town

Yesterday evening, I had the unique opportunity to participate in a tele-town hall meeting with Congressman Jeff Flake on the subject of healthcare and the so-called "ObamaCare" bills in Congress right now. I had been complaining about the GOP not doing anything recently, and a friend of mine with better connections than I can dream to have at this point apparently put my name on the short list of people to participate. (You know who you are, and thanks!) So anyway, I got a call from an automated conference call system around dinnertime and was surprised to hear Congressman Flake's voice on the other end inviting me to wait on the line to be automatically connected. I was, and then I was told to push zero if I had a question on healthcare to ask the Congressman. I thought for a moment about what I'd like to hear, grabbed a pen and pad of paper to write it down on, and hit zero. I was placed in a queue (I LOVE that word!) of others to ask a question. While I waited, I got to hear from a bunch of other people, almost all of whom I'm thinking were seniors or 35+ adults. The Congressman answered questions on Medicare/Medicaid, the Democrats' bill's penalties for people who didn't carry health insurance, the Republican Party members' plans for what THEY'D do with healthcare to reform it, and about how the average person could help to defeat ObamaCare by calling and sending letters to swing vote members of Congress (the "Blue Dogs"). Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to ask my question because the Congressman ran out of time, and I guess I was a bit late getting into the queue, but here it was: "Hello Congressman, it's nice to hear from you again. I'm 23 years old, and I've never really had need for much of the healthcare system just yet, since I've been covered under my parents until last year. However, I know that the systems that are in place are currently failing, and it's very likely that unless something changes, the Medicare/Medicaid system and the healthcare system in general will be bankrupt before I turn 65 in four decades. I definitely don't think government-run healthcare is going to help; probably will make it much, much worse, but can you tell me what safeguards the Republican Party is trying to push for with regards to making sure the system I pay taxes into will still be available to the young people in my generation?" Good question? You be the judge. Anyway, thanks again to my friend (who may or may not read this blog and whose name I don't want to use unjustly) for setting me up for that unique experience. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Congressman Flake does around the district once he comes home from Washington.

Weird Dream

This morning, I woke up from a very odd dream, and fortunately I had the presence of mind to write it down before I forgot about it. Without going into lots of detail that would undoubtedly bore you, here's the gist: I was a high school student in someplace with rolling hills, grass, and big shade trees (so, obviously NOT Skyline). I was carrying a bag with me which had an umpire's uniform, my heavy winter coat, and a notebook and pen inside; I knew also that after "school" I was supposed to umpire the school's softball game. At which point I had a "flash forward" like I was daydreaming within the dream about being an umpire, calling someone out on a close play. On the way walking to the bus stop, I dropped the bag, and glass shattered all over everything. Not entirely sure where the glass came from, but what the heck. I continued walking to the school (which looked nothing like any school I've been to, by the way) and went in, down a couple dark and twisted corridors to find a co-ed restroom with a few people milling around before school. I went into the back, and there was a big darkened room there completely devoid of furniture or fixtures save for a small square table in the center. And (I kid you not) Gil Grissom from the "CSI" TV show and a little 7-year-old girl were playing a board game. This board game, too, was unique, featuring electronic lighting, self-moving pieces, and colored "chips" as winnable pieces. It looked a bit like Uber-futuristic Candy Land. Anyway, while they were playing, I was trying to shake out pieces of glass from my big winter coat. Eventually, I got most of it out, though it took some time, and I transfered all my stuff into a different bag. I stuck around to watch the end of Gil and the little girl's game, which Gil eventually lost. The little girl asked for a rematch, and Gil said no. Then the little girl asked if she should bring a different game tomorrow, and Gil said no, this one would be fine and he'd like the opportunity to beat her at it before switching games. Then I woke up and couldn't fall back to sleep. I told you it was weird. Anyway.... on with the day, I guess.

26 July 2009


A quick post update: not a ton has happened within the last week or so, although my dad and brother David came back from their vacation around the western United States and had fun. I did end up going to last night's baseball game, where I was able to get starting pitcher Doug Davis' warm-up ball from Glenn Sherlock, the Diamondbacks' bullpen coach. All it took was asking politely, waiting patiently, and making the catch when he threw the ball! Thanks, Glenn!

19 July 2009

Roster Changes

Remember my previous post on what I thought some good Diamondbacks roster changes before the All-Star Break would be? Well, here are some of the changes that I semi-predicted which have happened in the last week or so: 1. Tony Clark (1B) dismissed. They decided to simply drop him rather than try to keep him on board or trade him, which is a move I like. He just wasn't getting it done, had little trade value, and will be an asset to the organization in the future should he choose that path. The team called up Josh Whitesell who will be the more-or-less everyday starter to help share the time at first base with Chad Tracy. 2. Tony Pena (reliever) traded to the Chicago White Sox for minor league infielder Brandon Allen, the #1 minor league power slugger for the Sox organization last year. He was assigned to AAA Reno for the Diamondbacks. Tony Pena was a good man to trade. Another organization can certainly use him, and the DBacks were only delaying the inevitable by keeping him. Hopefully Allen can either be used to get a strong 2B or reliever in the offseason; otherwise, he might turn into a good slugger/infielder for the club next year or so. Leo Rosales was called up to replace him. 3. Felipe Lopez (2B) traded for 2 minor league prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers. I definitely like the club getting rid of him; he seemed too lazy - or perhaps a better word that I read about him today is "lackadaisical" - in his at-bats, on the basepaths, and playing defense. I just wish the club had picked up something more than a couple AA prospects for what was the DBacks' most legitimate leadoff hitter. Ryan Roberts was called up to replace him in the lineup. So here's what the club looks like now: C: Snyder (DL), Montero, Carlin 1B: Whitesell, Tracy, Jackson (DL) 2B: Ojeda, Roberts 3B: Reynolds SS: Drew LF: Parra, Romero, Byrnes (DL) CF: Young RF: Upton Starting Pitchers: Haren, Davis, Garland, Scherzer, Petit, Webb (DL) Relief Pitchers: Boyer, Rosales, Zavada, Gutierrez, Rauch, Qualls, Vasquez, Schoeneweis, Gordon (DL) One can only hope we are able to find some way to trade Byrnes, maybe Romero, and possibly Rauch for a new everyday 2B and relievers.

14 July 2009

The View From the ASG

But first... exciting news! I was finally able to find an old friend of mine from NAU whom I have not seen or talked to since he went into the armed services about five years ago. I did some sleuthing online and his name came up on a Myspace page that must have been blocked or something when I did a search previously. I created a Myspace account for the sole purpose of sending him a message, and now I wait to see if he responds. For all I know he might be in Afghanistan or something. So I am now quite happy tonight to have completed that quest. Okay... the 2009 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game! First, I have to begin with NL Manager (and Phillies manager) Charlie Manuel's decision to snub the best pitcher in the National League for the starting spot. I'm talking of course about Dan Haren. Instead, he started Tim Lincecum, a great pitcher in his own right, but Dan Haren should have started the game. Period. Hands down. No more discussion. Therefore, from this moment on, until either Charlie Manuel leaves Major League Baseball for good or I die, I am putting a Curse on him and any team he works with/for. Good luck getting the W's now, Charlie! Mwahahahahahahaha! Yes, that was my Evil Laugh. The game itself was actually nothing really special. Dan Haren pitched the 4th inning, and Justin Upton got in two at-bats and played left field for a few innings to close out the game. The NL was once more beaten by the AL, despite solid play. The NL starting pitcher was what did them in... no names here of course COUGH*Lincecum*COUGH*... The AL beat him up for two runs in the first inning on some sloppy pitching and a nasty error by Albert Pujols. The AL also had one error leading to an NL run, but aside from that, there were no home runs hit by the big sluggers in the lineup, few extra-base hits, a couple strikeouts here and there, and was (I believe) the quickest game time-wise in All-Star Game history at 2 hours, 31 minutes. I guess the biggest highlight of the night was watching the President of the United States Barack Obama throw out the quinticentially American first pitch to Pujols in his Chicago White Sox blazer (no doubt padded with a large bulletproof vest). Getting to hear his interview in the broadcast booth was also fun. Despite what I would call "dangerous" policy decisions by the President, it's nice that he's such a fan of the American Pastime. AL 4, NL 3... 13 years in a row that the AL has won the All-Star Game, and will have home field advantage in the World Series.

12 July 2009


It's hot. This was the temperature my car registered today as I was driving home around 5:30pm: It registered 122 degrees before I turned on the A/C!

11 July 2009

Baseball From the Miller Lite Diamond Club

Tonight was an extra fun night at the ballpark for several reasons. First, it was Chris Snyder bobblehead night, so I got me a bobblehead - #3 of 5 this year. Second, I went with Scott and my sister, which is always good times. Third, we got there in time for Marlins BP, so I had fun with that, even though I didn't catch anything. (Damn you Chris Coghlan, Burke Badenhop, and Chris Volstad of the Marlins for not throwing anything my way! Ha ha...!) Fourth, my friend Mark whom I met at Tempe Marketplace - he works for FSNAZ - had invited me to come check out the Miller Lite Diamond Club in right centerfield, so we got to hang out in there all night for free! Pics to come later when I'm not sleepy, but quick story: after BP, we had an hour to kill before first pitch, so I suggested we hang out at the Diamond Club instead of staying in our bleacher seats the whole time. When we got there, FSNAZ was finishing up filming the pre-game show with Todd Walsh and former DBacks' first baseman (and perennial fan favorite) Mark Grace! When he got unhooked from his microphone to run out to do the color analysis for the TV broadcast, I was able to get his autograph on the ball I'd brought with me (it was the foul ball I caught on June 23rd)! I couldn't believe that I was again in the right place at the right time to take advantage of that opportunity! So thanks Mark for letting us come and hang out with y'all this evening; we had a blast!

10 July 2009


Dan Haren pitched his second career complete game shutout tonight as the Diamondbacks trounced the Marlins 8 to nothing! He gave up just four hits in the win, and walked one while striking out 10 of the fish to drop his ERA to 2.01, the lowest in the major leagues for a starting pitcher! The DBacks' bats also came along again tonight - last night they scored 7 and were up 7-0 in the 6th inning until it all came crashing down. Tonight, when they went up 7-0 I was praying for no repeat performance by the Marlins batters, and thanks to Haren, it didn't happen. If Haren's not the National League All-Star Game starting pitcher next week, I think there is seriously something wrong with Major League Baseball... Haren's #1 in innings pitched (130), WHIP, OBA, K/BB, BB/9, and tied for 5th in Ks in the MAJOR LEAGUES! The only NL pitcher who bests him in any of those categories is Tim Lincecum of the Giants who has more strikeouts. I can't wait to see what the second half brings for the pitcher who is currently the leading candidate for the NL Cy Young Award!

09 July 2009

Sedona Red and Sonoran Sand

So, does anyone else out there think I caused the DBacks meltdown today? I mean, I did change the color scheme of my blog to reflect the team's Sonoran Sand and Sedona Red colors.... Yeah, me neither *knocks on wood*. I don't believe in that superstition stuff *waves rabbit's foot over keyboard*. I'm not going to write much about this tonight because it was just that bad, but the Diamondbacks had a 7-0 lead over the Marlins going into the 6th inning, and over the course of the 6th, 7th, and 8th, we coughed it up BIG TIME. In the 8th inning especially, we used three pitchers - Gutierrez (0.0 innings, 2 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB), Schoeneweis (0.1 innings, 2 hits, 2 ER), and Boyer (1.2 innings, 4 hits, 5 runs, 2 ER, 1 BB) - had a passed ball by new catcher Luke Carlin, 2 errors, and gave up TEN runs, including a 3-run homer to RF Carroll. Kind of makes one sick to one's stomach. On the bright side, Upton did bust out of a slump, going 3-for-5 with a 2-run homer in the first inning.

08 July 2009

Back to the Ballyard

Today, I decided to go and see the 12:40pm Padres-Diamondbacks game at Chase Field. I had it all planned out perfectly: wake up early and get ready, leave at 9:30, get to Chase at 10:20, get my ticket, go watch BP and try to get balls from the players, watch the game, come home. Last night, I prepped for the game by making a "Vote Mark "The Sheriff" Reynolds" t-shirt for the 2009 All-Star Game.

Yes, that really is me there... In case you don't follow the Diamondbacks organization religiously (meaning, pretty much everyone I know except myself!), this week until tomorrow at 4pm EST is the All-Star Game Final Vote, for which fans can vote for one of five players to round out the All-Star Game's rosters. Mark Reynolds (third baseman #27) is one player who is a finalist for the spot. So most of the sports radio stations, TV stations, Twitter, and Arizona blogosphere have been encouraging people to vote for Mark. In fact, Senator John McCain was on FSNAZ before yesterday's game to officially endorse Reynolds for the spot! He also Tweeted his support for Reynolds with this message: "Vote for Mark Reynolds for All-Star! He is a great athlete and an outstanding role model. Go D-backs, 3 in a row!"

After donning my shirt, and snagging my poster (which said "Reynolds 4 -President- -Supreme Court- -Congress- X All-Star Game 2009!" on one side, and "Decisions are made by those who make themselves heard and who VOTE. - Walter H. Judd Vote Reynolds 2009!" on the other) I was off to get gas and be on my way.

When I got to Chase, I parked ($12 parking.... but it kept the car cool, so I suppose it was worth it in the 108-degree heat!) and went directly to the ticket counter, where I exchanged my Junior Achievement Biztown Voucher (good for one free ticket in the bleachers) for one free ticket in the left field bleachers. Seeing as it was a day game on a Wednesday, I figured I'd be bound to get a good seat, and I did... section 140, first row, right out near the DBacks bullpen!

I waited for a couple minutes at the gate, waiting for it to open, and rushed inside to go watch batting practice.... which was cancelled. Big bummer. I was totally hoping to snag a couple balls from my section. So I was there about 2 hours early, and no BP going on... not even a player on the field throwing or anything.

I decided my best course of action would be to wander the concourse and see what I could see. I knew that the 3rd baseline was a good spot for autographs before the game, where different players would come out and entreat the fans, so I started to wander that way. I stopped to enter a couple contests, like guessing the number of balls in the case to win a raffle. I got plenty of positive comments on the shirt, too, by the way!

After a bit, I noticed that the relief pitchers and starters were moving out to throw for a bit near the bullpen, so I meandered over there to see if I could get a ball or an autograph. After just a couple minutes, Dan Haren's throw was misjudged by Esmerling Vasquez, and it skipped on by him and ended up at the base of the wall about 30 feet to my left. I waited a moment to give the kids that were standing there a chance to go for it (I mean, I'm not about to go shoving a bunch of kids around to get one ball that I could try to get anytime), but they didn't budge. After a minute, I moved over, said, "Hey, can I get in here to try and grab that ball?" and reached over the wall and picked it up! Thanks, Dan Haren! (I've also counted it in my MyGameBalls.com profile - a site dedicated to tracking balls that you get at games over time, so check my profile out on there!)

As the pitchers wound down, Vasquez was kind enough to come to the wall to sign a few autographs, and I was able to patiently wait my turn and get him to sign my ticket stub (yes, the ticket, since I wanted to try to get catcher Miguel Montero or Mark Reynolds' autograph on the ball I had just gotten). He signed it in loopy letters right across the tear-off of the ticket:

I decided to wait a while longer, since autograph time is supposed to stop 40 minutes before game time. I was really hoping Montero would come out of the clubhouse, or one of the position players, but they didn't. However, Tom Gordon, our relief pitcher who tore his hamstring on a wicked play at the plate back in April and has been on the DL forever (and who I was definitely not expecting to see out there throwing today) came out with a backup catcher and started throwing a flat-ground session. On his way back to the dugout, he also stopped to sign some autographs, and I was able to talk to him while I waited (Me: They've [all the kids] got you working like an autograph machine today, huh, Tom? Tom: Yeah, but I like signing for kids. Me: Well, we all really appreciate it. Hope you're coming back to the team soon. Tom: Yeah, me too!) and he signed my baseball:

The game itself was nerve-wracking until the 8th inning. We were no-hit through four innings against Chad Gaudin of the Padres, and one-hit through 6. Meanwhile, the Pads jumped out to a 2-0 lead. However, in the 7th inning we got one back on a sacrifice fly, and we busted out for five runs in the 8th inning on an error, an RBI single by Alex Romero, and a three run homer to right field by Felipe Lopez. Chad Qualls scared everyone in the ninth by loading the bases with one out, but struck out one batter and induced a flyout to center field to end it. We captured out first series sweep of the season, and are on a five-game winning streak, our longest streak of the year. Also, the win took us OUT of last place in the NL West division! We've got a ways to go to be in any kind of contention for anything, but it's definitely an improvement over losing 2-of-every-3 games week in and week out!

Vote MARK REYNOLDS for the 2009 All-Star Game by going to MLB.com or DBacks.com and clicking on the "Final Vote" buttons! We need EVERYONE'S support... including you guys in DC and Michigan who I know read this blog!!!! Thanks in advance!!!!

05 July 2009

Happy Independence Day!

A day late and a dollar short, I know, but Happy Fourth of July to everyone out there in cyberspace. The reason I didn't get to this yesterday was due to a preponderance of events including a BBQ with the family, fireworks, and the obligatory July 4th baseball game (Rockies vs. Diamondbacks) at Coors Field on tv. We won 11-7, by the way! So couple things, first, God Bless America. Second, a big thank you to our men and women fighting overseas. I appreciate all you do. And third, in the immortal words of Mr. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that the are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that amond these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

03 July 2009

DBacks' Analysis

Not that kind of analysis... we all know the team's struggling at the moment to produce the all-elusive WIN. I'm talking about who they should trade and who they should keep, from a fan's perspective. The Arizona Republic newspaper this morning had a good article with short snippets for each of the 25 current players on the roster about what to do. Here's my take: Outfielders: Chris Young: Been struggling mightily at the plate recently, but we've all seen what he can do with the bat and the ball when he's right. He needs to find his mojo, but I still think he's well-worth the investment. Eric Byrnes: Trade him, except there's pretty much no team that will take him, least of all with a broken hand that's going to end his season for the most part. I say the team needs to suck it up, let him be a pinch hitter until his contract expires, and then release him. Justin Upton: He's the best outfielder we've got right now, with power, a solid batting average, and young but strong defense. With a great arm, great bat, and the "leader mentality" he displays, he's definitely a keeper. Now if we can just work on his attitude when he's frustrated. The "fake throw" to the fans was worthy of the boos he got in return. Gerardo Parra: He can hit with RISP, he can hit for power, and with Eric Byrnes out, he's our replacement in left field. I say let him keep it for the remainder of the year until Jackson returns. Then he can give Upton, Young, and Jackson days off and be a good late-inning pinch-hitter. Infielders: Tony Clark: He's a heck of a clubhouse leader, but he's really too old to play at a major league caliber anymore. His on-field mistakes have really showcased that. Let him retire in peace, then hire him as part of the staff after this year. Until then, he should remain our "designated pinch-hitter." Stephen Drew: Part of the heart and soul of the club right now, Drew is athletic, strong, and a force at the plate. His amazing throws to nab runners at first this year alone show that he needs to stay. Felipe Lopez: I differ from the "experts" on this one, who think Lopez is some kind of golden boy for the team. If I were Hinch, I'd make it very clear to Lopez that if he refuses to hustle playing second or running the basepaths anymore, he's going to find himself back in AAA faster than Darron Sutton can spoil and Aflac Trivia Question! Mark Reynolds: Power, persona, and skills all in one. Sure, he strikes out, but he more than makes up for it with homers and good defense at the hot corner. I'd like to see him remain at third, but he's a force at first, too. Ryan Roberts and Chad Tracy: Let's see what we can get for them and a starter (Garland) in terms of a solid second baseman, drop Lopez, and let Josh Whitesell have a full-time go at first. Augie Ojeda can be our oh-so-dependable utility man to give the 2B, 3B, and SS a day off from time-to-time. Pitchers: Pick up Brandon Webb's option. When he gets back to form (notice that's WHEN, not IF), he's going be a force to be reckoned with, and we can't afford to lose our biggest ace in the hole. Keep who should be the NL All-Star starter in Dan Haren, and we've got a one-two punch that's about as big as Johnson-Schilling in 2001. I also like keeping Doug Davis, even though he sometimes struggles. He's still a solid pitcher and a good presence in the dugout. Let's trade Garland (with the infielders above) and Pena, and move Scherzer to a permanent bullpen slot. Then we need 2 starters and we've got Qualls, Gutierrez, Vasquez, Schoeneweis, and my favorite, Clay Zavada also in the bullpen. I also like shopping Rauch to shake things up, and seeing if we can't bolster the sieve that has been the 7/8/9 guys over the past three months. My Starters: 1B: Whitesell 2B: Ojeda until we can trade for a regular 2B 3B: Reynolds SS: Drew LF: Jackson, but Parra until he's healthy CF: Young RF: Upton C: Snyder/Montero (I like how Hinch has been giving Montero more looks) Rotation: 1: Brandon Webb (let's use Petit while he's out) 2: Dan Haren 3: Doug Davis 4: Open 5: Open Bullpen: Scherzer, Qualls, Schoeneweis, Vasquez, Gutierrez, Zavada, and three open spots vacated by Rauch, Pena, and Boyer. Bench: Parra once Jackson's back, Ojeda once we find an everyday 2B, Clark, and one more open spot (Lopez's) to make 25. Byrnes is on the DL and when he comes back, that'd be his spot. Overall analysis: We need to seriously shop our infield talents for pitchers, especially for the bullpen. The starters are OK, even good, but without a bullpen, we'll lose (and have been losing) most of our games.

How To Score A Baseball Game

In Two Easy Steps....
Okay, maybe more than just TWO steps. Because of my little hobby, I've been asked a few times what I mean by "scoring" a baseball game, and how it's done. Most people that regularly go to the ballpark probably know you can buy a program and you get a complementary scorecard filled with a grid of boxes that you're supposed to write on, but how many of you actually know HOW to keep score? Well, if you've ever been interested, see below!
Typically, I've found two main types of scorecards: cards for the casual fan, and cards for statisticians. The scorecard you get at the ballpark is a casual one. Places for players' names, numbers, and boxes to fill in what happens at that person's at-bat. This is a pretty typical scorecard you might find at a ballpark. The spaces on the far left are for names/numbers of players, the white boxes in the center are for plays during the game, and the right side is reserved for statistics (how many hits each player had, RBI, walks, etc.):

My scorecards are a bit more complicated, because I like to keep track of each pitch during the game, not just the end results of an at-bat. Here's a scan of my scorecard from 4/14/2009, the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. First, the away team (Cardinals):Then the Diamondbacks:At the top of each page is the score and number of innings (you'll notice that this game was won by the Diamondbacks 6-7 in ten innings) and the stadium in which the game was played (Chase Field). Below that are the gameday conditions: home team/visiting team, date, my name, start time of game, end time, time played, attendance, wind and weather. These don't really affect anything, but they're nice reminders of what it was like that day. This game was GORGEOUS at 85 degrees and overcast with a nice strong 15mph breeze coming from the west. And it was a typical game, attended by about the average 25,000 people.

At the bottom of the page there's a "SUMS" table, which shows the inning-by-inning accumulation of runs, hits, errors, and men left on base (LOB). For example, in the Diamondbacks' half of the 5th inning, they scored 2 runs, collected one hit, the opposing team made two errors, and the DBacks left one man on base. The last column in that grid is the accumulation of hits, runs, errors, and LOB for the whole game. The Cardinals scored 6 runs on 11 hits, the DBacks made no errors against them, and the Cards stranded 9 on base.

Below this, there are the stats for the game's pitchers. The pitcher's name goes in the first column, followed by spaces for whether he won/lost/held/saved the game, how many innings he pitched, hits allowed, runs allowed, earned runs allowed (a technical term for runs allowed that didn't happen because of errors), walks (bb = base on balls), strikeouts, hit batters, balks, wild pitches thrown, and total batters faced. In this game, Max Scherzer (of Arizona) pitched 5 innings, gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks, struck out one, and faced 22 batters.

Below that, there's spaces for catchers' statistics (passed balls, of which there are almost never any), and for the names of the four umpires for the game.

The middle of the scorecard's where it's all at. The first columns allow spaces for batters' numbers, their names, and their fielding positions. Each position on the field is given a number: 1 = pitcher, 2 = catcher, 3 = 1st baseman, 4 = 2nd baseman, 5 = 3rd baseman, 6 = shortstop, and 7/8/9 = left/center/right fielder respectively. The squares in the center serve to show how each of these nine players fared in each at-bat of the game. There are other symbols too, but the main ones when scoring a game are F#, #-#, L#, P#, and K or a backwards K.

F# means that the batter hit a ball to one of the outfielders who caught it in the air before it hit the ground, expressed as "flyout to the centerfielder" (or right fielder, or left fielder). Both L# and P# mean that the ball was hit to an infielder who caught it in the air before it hit the ground. L for lineout (a very sharply hit ball the went directly to the infielder) and P for pop-up (a softly hit ball or one that went straight up in the air before coming back down into the infield).

#-# means that two (or more) infielders were part of a play resulting in an out (or outs). When you hear an announcer mention a "6-4-3 double play" what he means is that the shortstop (position 6, remember) got the ball on the ground, threw it to the second baseman (#4) who got a runner from first base out, then threw the ball to the first baseman (#3) who got the batter who was running from home out. Rarely, a runner will get in what is known as a "rundown" where the fielders have "trapped" him between two bases. In these cases, you could have a single play that looks like this: 2-5-2-6-1-7-2. That would mean that the catcher fielded the ball, threw it to the 3rd baseman, who threw it back to the catcher, who threw it to the shortstop who was covering third base, who threw it to the pitcher covering home plate, who threw it back to the left fielder covering third base, who threw it back to the catcher covering home plate who finally (FINALLY!) tagged the runner out. The runner, meanwhile, is just doing wind sprints back and forth between 3rd base and home, trying not to get tagged! Confused yet?

Other important things to learn would be how to score hits, walks, and errors. The little diamond in the center of each square box is a representation of the base path. The right corner of the diamond represents 1st base, the top corner represents 2nd base, and so on. When someone hits a single, you draw a line between "home plate" and "first base" and write "1B" (meaning "single") next to it. A double would have "2B", and a home run would have "HR." On my scorecard, Conor Jackson (#34, pinch hitter - PH as a fielding position) hit a home run in the 8th inning. The dot in the center of his box means that he touched all four bases safely during his time as a batter and runner, and scored one run for the team. The three small dots in the upper right corner of his box mean that he got 3 RBI - Runs Batted In - because of his home run. Essentially, during his time at bat, three runs scored, including him because of the home run. Also, notice how when Jackson hit his homer, I filled in the lines around the diamond for all the other players who scored on the play, and I put the little number 34 between third and home for them? That tells me which player moved that runner to home.

Walks and errors are similarly easy: on a walk, instead of "1B" you write "BB" for bsae on balls - the batter was given first base because he got four balls from the pitcher while at bat. On error, you would write E#, the number being the position number of the player who committed the error (shortstop, 3rd base, and 2nd base generally have the most errors). Sometimes, a player will bat and hit a ground ball which would have put him out, but the defense throws the ball to put out a different runner instead, and the batter reaches first base safely. This is called a "fielder's choice" play, represented by FC on the scorecard. It's not a hit, statistics-wise, and it's not an out. It just means that the fielder who initially got the batted ball decided to get a runner who was closer to scoring a run out instead of the batter. It was the fielder's choice... get it?

Aside from that, ignore most of my other weird markings until you've gotten some practice. They're things that are either uninportant and just quirks I like to do on my scorecards or they're for rarer plays which you won't see every game. Good luck trying it out, and don't get discouraged if you make your own errors... I know I have to scribble out something every game I watch still! (Notice the scribbles on the final score of the game on the DBacks side of the scorecard? Um yeah....)