I’ve been keeping score at baseball games since I could lift a pencil. When I was really young, I used to help my grandpa track at-bats on the single game score-cards or programs they’d sell at Yankee games. When I was a little older, I took a break from the paper and ran the electronic score-board at my brother’s baseball games. Then, in university, I went back to paper, scoring the few Cubs and White Sox games I made it out to in Chicago.
When Blaise and I got married and moved to Toronto, I bought my first [and as it turns out my last!] official Toronto Blue Jays Score Book. It’s become a bit of a sacred object, not only because they don’t sell these babies at the park anymore, but also because it’s marked with some major milestones for us: wedding anniversaries, pregnancies, kids’ first games, first dates without the kids…[Oh, and there’s some Blue Jays milestones, too!] Because it’s become a favourite object and because it’s almost full, I don’t always bring it with me to the games.
July 19, 1998. Our first anniversary. Blue Jays v. Yankees. Childhood idol Willie Randolph as 3rd Base coach. Blue Jays win 9-3.
It was a big deal, in any case, when I finally let the kids have a crack at keeping score in my book last Tuesday night, when the Jays played the Rays – and lost big. When your team’s a-strugglin’, it’s good to have something to keep you occupied. Each kid got a turn at a couple of innings’ work, at first with a little parental supervision, and then with none.
They were attentive and they loved it. This coincided nicely with Blaise’s project of writing and tweeting a haiku for each and every baseball game this season! Search your social media for #jaysseasoninhaiku Here’s bea tracking the fourth inning all by herself:
Keeping score isn’t as popular as it once was, at least by the looks of the paper-less laps of the other folks in the bleachers. But, I say, let’s keep going baseball fans! Let’s bring back the official Blue Jays scorebook. In the meantime, I’m saving our book for special occasions. I’m eyeing Christopher Swingley’s fantastic looking printable sheets and instructions as the stuff of my homemade Jays Scorebook, Volume II. And, I’m planning on sourcing fancy scorebooks for the kids as Christmas presents. Already, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do when we hit the bleachers for the 2017 season!
If you want to learn more about this time honoured tradition, check out Paul Dickson’s The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball.
Go Jays! Go! We’ve got you pencilled in!