Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Keeping Score

Settings (L to R): sunny, partly sunny, cloudy. Cloudy wins.

Whenever I go to a baseball game, I keep score.

Though I used to spend a buck per game to buy the official scorecard, I grew impatient with the ridiculously tiny squares and hard-to-write-on paper they offer. So now I carry my own scoring book around, which looks pretty impressive when I take my seat and whip out that score pad and a fine tip marker.

I tend to attract attention, mostly from nearby ushers, who either greet me with a comment like, "Ohhhh, you're one of those..." or sometimes just straight ask me why I keep score. 

And usually I give them a vague answer about how I just think it's fun.

Which is true.

But the full truth of the matter is that if I don't do something to rivet my attention to the game, my mind will wander all over the place. 

Tonight, for example, at Texas Rangers v. Seattle Mariners, I was struck by a sudden impulse to test the light settings on my Instax camera. Once minute, I'm calmly logging balls and strikes to Nomar Mazara, and the next I'm digging through my bag to pull out my camera, taking test shots on each setting, and then holding the photos in my hand like a deck of cards as the images develop before my eyes. 

Trust me, I did not peel off three Hamiltons to sit in a plastic seat and squint at overexposed photos while the crowd roars and I'm lost in my own crazy daydreams.

Better that I focus on filling out my scorecard, obsessively noting every ball and strike; every pop fly, double play, and RBI in rapt attention, allowing nothing to come between me and a flawless record of the game.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I keep score at baseball games. 

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P.S. In the top of the fourth, Ranger right fielder Mazara hit a home run into the batter's eye, next door to our section. A few innings later, a season-ticket-holding old timer seated nearby finagled that home run ball away from stadium personnel and presented it to my fourth-born, a loud and proud Ranger fan. A kind gesture from a stranger, and a special night for my daughter.

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To watch the highlight reel of tonight's game, including Mazara's home run, go here.

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More stories about my Instax photos:

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