Scoring a Baseball Game

The Project Scoresheet Way

In the 1980s, I and Marian followed baseball, especially the SF Giants. And I quickly found that my pleasure in watching a game was greatly enhanced by keeping score.

I learned that the most detailed and most logical scoring system -- the system that left the most readable historical record of a game -- was the one created by the members of Project Scoresheet, a volunteer organization that collected detailed statistics and made them available to amateur sabremetricians and rotissery-league players. (At the time, the stats accumulated by Major League Baseball were not available to the public. Project Scoresheet had the grand aim of making equal-quality stats available, free, to anyone. The spirit was very much like that of the current Open Source movement.)

Although I enjoyed using the Project Scoresheet system, I, being an obsessive technical writer, naturally thought it could be documented better. So I documented it for myself in a 28-page writeup that covered every common game situation with many examples. So far as I know, this was the only time anyone tried to do a complete job of documenting that scoring system.

And here it is as a set of PDF files. To use the system:


Step 1: Download scoring.pdf and read parts of it on your screen to see if the system suits you. If it does, print that document and read it in detail.

Step 2: Download formhome.pdf and formvisitor.pdf. These are the scoring forms. Print them at your best quality; then take them to a copy-making place (not your employer's copier, surely?) and copy them double-sided, making a single sheet with the home form on one side and the visitor form on the other.

Step 3: Download refcard.pdf, print it, and tape it to the back of your scoring clipboard for reference during a game.

Step 4: go to a game and enjoy yourself!


A little history

By the early 90s Project Scoresheet was moribund, but one of the founders, Gary Gillette, had created the Baseball Workshop, a similar volunteer organization. Gary wanted to use my writeup, and under his guidance I made a number of corrections and improvements in it. In the end, we didn't communicate too well, and I'm not sure he actually distributed the writeup in any extensive way. We lost contact. I gather that Gary eventually joined the TotalSports organization, but as of late 2001, TotalSports.com itself seems to be dead, and I don't know what he is doing now.

Anyway, as a result of the great strike of 98, I lost my interest in baseball for some time. Recently, however, I obtained season tickets to the Stanford college team which plays at its pretty little park, Sunken Diamond, on the campus. And so once again I have a reason to score games.

Wanting to refresh my memory of the system, I went looking for info on the internet -- figuring that there would now be lots of web sites that talk about scoring. Not so!

There are almost none; and none whatever that mention Project Scoresheet. Similarly there are almost no books at Amazon.com, and the only ones do not use this excellent system. So I dusted off the old writeup, cleaned up a few details, and since I have the software tools handy, converted it to PDF and here we are.