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How to Understand and Keep Score in Baseball

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Understanding and keeping score in baseball can tough for anyone who is not that familar with the game. Basically, if you understand the positions and abbreviations, then you will have little trouble in keeping score. Here is a list of abbreviations that will help you in keeping a scorecard up for a baseball game:
Every player on the field is listed numerically so that you can track putouts and assists when they play the field:

1- pitcher
2- catcher
3- first baseman
4- second baseman
5- third basemen
6- shortstop
7- left fielder
8- centerfielder
9- right fielder

Here is a list of abbreviations when scoring for batters and fielders:

K- strikeout
1B- single
2B- double
3B- triple
HR- home run
E- error
HBP- hit By pitch
BB- base on balls
WP- wild pitch
PB- passed ball
SB- stolen base
CS- caught stealing
PO- picked off
BK- balk
PH- pinch hitter
PR- pinch runner
DH- designated hitter

So be sure when you are scoring on defense to keep track of everyone that was involved in a particular play. For example, if a double-play occurs that was started by a second baseman, then the first number in the play should be a “4”. If he throws to the shortstop covering second base, and he in turn throws to the first basemen to successfully complete a double-play, then the score of the play should be “4-6-3”. If the batter is safe at first on the double-play attempt, then the score would be “4-6” and counted as a forceout at second base.

Another example would be a flyout to the centerfielder being marked “F-8”. An error by the third baseman in which it was officially ruled as such if you are tracking a MLB game would marked as “E-5”.

When a batter reaches base no matter how, a line should be drawn on the basepath to how far they advanced. If the batter does eventually come around to score, then there should be a line drawn around the whole diamond and completely shaded in so that it makes it easy to track the total amount of runs scored in a game.

If you don’t want to spend time keeping up with defensive statistics for the game, you can always mark any out other than striking out with an “X”. When the first out of an inning occurs, you should write a “1” in the diamond under that player’s name and circle it. You would do the same thing for the next two outs, except when the final out of the inning is recorded, you would put a slash mark at the bottom of that player’s box to indicate that the inning is over.

When a batter advances a runner to a base, you can put the batter’s uniform number or spot in the batting order in the top left-hand corner. This is not always done at the amateur level, but it does exist at the major and minor leagues.

If you want to keep a count on the total pitches thrown, then you should mark a “B” for a ball, “S” for a strike, and “F” for a foul with two strikes. This will help you keep track of all pitch counts, and the total amount of balls and strikes that the pitcher is throwing. This usually gives a clear indication of how much control the pitcher has that day.

In the event that a team bats around with more than nine batters in a single inning, then be sure to use the next column. When that happens, it is best to draw a diagonal line across the original column so that you know that the inning was extended to the next column.

Now in order to properly keep score, you will have to get a score book. Just about every score book has official rules and instructions on how to score a game. They also provide blank score sheets that has pre-printed grids and diagrams on them. Just be sure before you start keeping score, be sure that you write down the date, time, and teams playing at the top of the sheet. The spaces on the far left side of the score card is for the player names, numbers, and positions. The top of the sheets are for the innings, and the bottom is for the totals for each player on that team. Every score book I have ever seen gives you the option of circling whether a play ended by flyout or groundout when a batter does not strikeout at the plate. If not, then use “F” for flyout and “G” for groundout.

The last thing you need to do is to be very alert when keeping score during a game. If you miss a play, then do your best to find out what happened so that it possibly doesn’t ruin your scorecard for later in the game. Once again, if you are tracking a MLB game, be sure you pay very close attention to the official ruling on all plays, in particular those that involve a possible error or hit.

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