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May 17, 2017

Short Relief

How to Keep Score and Analyze Outfielders

by Patrick Dubuque and Meg Rowley


How to Keep Score

By: Patrick Dubuque

Learn the number of each position: 1 for pitcher, 2 for catcher, 3 for first baseman, and so on. Groundball putouts are written in the order of who touched the ball: 4-3, 9-2. Flyballs have an F in front, like F8. Unassisted putouts have a U afterward, like 3U, I think.

Strikeouts are marked as K. Strikeouts looking are backward Ks. Strikeouts on bad calls by the umpire are also backwards Ks, but written in lighter pencil.

When someone asks you if you are keeping score, be honest. Tell them yes, you are keeping score. When they make that look, half puzzlement, half concern, never vocalized: do not answer. If they persist, tell them you are doing it because it is your last game, because you are dying.

Base hits are denoted with 1B, 2B, 3B, or HR, with a line marking the runner’s path around the bases. If the runner scores, darken the entire diamond. This is cathartic.

Use your best penmanship. You have time.

Write the details of the game in the margins: the date, time, place, the temperature and the attendance and the names of the umpires. These are unimportant details, and therefore vital details. No one lives in the day-to-day; in the day-to-day, they die. Only in the pointless, the ceremonial, and the reflective is anyone alive.

When a defender makes an excellent play, use an exclamation mark, but do so sparingly.

Never forget that your scorecard will never fully replicate the game you are scoring. The details--the angle of the pitcher’s delivery, the way the center fielder flashed his glove before making an easy catch, the timber and hunger of the crowd or the color of the skyline or your own fears--will not translate. No language can. That is not your job.

If your scorecard includes them, do not mark balls and strikes. Allow yourself to exist in the pauses.

Don’t use pen. Use pencil or, preferably, charcoal. If you’re feeling contemplative, score the game without looking at the card at all, but instead by letting the pencil travel on its own, through your subconscious. If the result resembles your father, call him. Tell him how the game went.


What Jarrod Dyson Looked Like During His Diving Catch

By: Meg Rowley

On Monday night, Jarrod Dyson made a diving catch to rob Khris Davis of a hit. In real time, this was one fluid display of athleticism. He had done this before. The whole thing took five seconds. He was Jarrod Dyson, Center Fielder. His identity was cohesive. He was himself and also his job. But when we break those five seconds down into their constituent parts, the play, along with Jarrod, fractures; he becomes many more things.

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Yovani Gallardo throws his 85th pitch. Jarrod Dyson is: an example of object permanence; waiting; on the warning track; unseen.

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Jarrod ranges. Jarrod Dyson is: comically far away; part of a triangle; between two men with much longer hair; rushing.

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Jarrod catches the ball. Jarrod Dyson is: a very fast person; on a knee; not humbled; Ben Gamel’s friend; a rebuke of years of Mariners’ outfield defense; still quite small for a professional athlete.

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Jarrod holds onto the ball. Jarrod Dyson is: a turtle; a drunk man on an icy street; catching a squirrelly baby who won’t stay on the changing table; grabbing your beer; in motion.

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Jarrod is playing baseball? Jarrod Dyson is: a triangle; an acrobat; bent at all his joints; playing baseball; no really, playing baseball!

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Jarrod stands in the field. Jarrod Dyson is: A hero; someone who stuck the landing; defiant; pleased it worked; less worried about his at-bats.

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Jarrod subjects himself to technology. Jarrod Dyson is: a metaphor for these weeks of ours. It’s only Wednesday! It’s only Wednesday? In which direction are we moving?

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Jarrod stretches. Jarrod Dyson is: a dad. A 31-almost-32-year-old dad who took a tumble and needs to stretch it out. Pop, pop, pop, all down the spine. He’s fine.

Jarrod Dyson made a diving catch to rob Khris Davis of a hit. He is a centerfielder. Also, he contains multitudes.


Patrick Dubuque is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Patrick's other articles. You can contact Patrick by clicking here
Meg Rowley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Meg's other articles. You can contact Meg by clicking here

Related Content:  Mariners,  Scorekeeping

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (05/17)
<< Previous Column
Short Relief: Dealing ... (05/16)
Next Column >>
Short Relief: Marlins ... (05/18)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Marcell O... (05/17)

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