Welcome to Squaretender, a blog devoted to baseball scorekeeping.
Our aim is to explore the technique, history, passion, quirks, and simple joy of keeping score. Nothing else brings you closer to a baseball game, and our purpose is to bring you closer to how and why it’s done.
When you keep score, you create a personal artifact of the game in front of you. In a way, scorekeeping is baseball’s written language, players and action translated into lines, symbols, and tiny notations. It is a code with endless permutations. Some are nearly universal to the millions of scorekeeping hobbyists, others different from fan to fan. Some are passed down by generation, others invented out of thin air.
It has been written that ours is a dying art. We hope not. Sure, everyone has a shorter attention span nowadays. Paying attention to every play in a ballgame, much less creating a shorthand record of what happens, seems like a lot to ask. But look around next time you’re at a baseball game, and you’ll see that scorekeeping is alive and well. Parents are teaching children how to do it. At most big-league ballparks, you can walk no more than 20 steps past the turnstile and find a stand selling scorecards and pencils. And with the proliferation of dazzling scoreboards at the park — telling you within seconds that, say, that putout went 1-6-4-3 — plus smartphone apps that offer pitch-by-pitch descriptions during the game itself, it’s easy to take up our hobby. Our job here is to make it a little bit easier, and a little more fun.
So set down your pencil for a moment and join us. Here we’ll talk about every aspect of keeping score. We hope to show you how some of the pros do it, explain how the histories of the game and scorekeeping are critically intertwined, and post authentic scorecards of some of baseball’s greatest moments. Most of all, we hope to create a place for you to talk about how you learned to keep score, show off the quirks of your method, and tell us why you love it as much as we do. And if you’re new to scorekeeping, there’s no better place to get started.
For our scorekeeping guide, start at Square One.
You can follow us on Twitter. And in the coming days, we’ll unveil a Facebook page, too.
So join us. Embrace the grid.