Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

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Diane’s Excellent Adventure at Social Media Night

By Diane Schultz

Roving Reporter for DiamondDiaries.net

I work in downtown St. Louis (on Market Street about 3 blocks from Busch Stadium), so instead of going all the way home and then turning around and coming right back, I decided to stay in downtown.  I had some time to kill before I met my hubby at the Musial statue (where else?) so I walked over to the Culinaria grocery store at 9th and Olive.

After perusing the groceries at Culinaria, I decided to walk over to Kiener Plaza to kill some more time.  Kiener Plaza is the home of all pre- and post-season Cardinals pep rallies.  There were no pep rallies this night, however.  Instead, there was a group of older gentlemen guarding some Segway machines.  If you were interested (and had the money), you could learn to ride a Segway.  No thanks – my two feet work just fine.

I sat on a bench for a while.  An old guy saw my Cardinals shirt and assumed I needed game tickets.  He flashed four game tickets at me.  I told him no, I didn’t need tickets. I got up from the bench and started walking around Kiener Plaza, hoping to get away from Mr. Ticket Guy.  Mr. Ticket Guy crossed my path later on and he tried to get me to buy his tickets again.  To paraphrase Reba McEntire, what part of no didn’t he understand?

It was starting to get a little creepy, so I called my hubby to see just where he was. I figured he was about 20 minutes away from Busch Stadium.  We decided I’d go to the Hardee’s at 6th and Chestnut and pick up a couple of burgers and fries for dinner.

Our tickets

I walked down to the stadium. Mr. Ticket Guy couldn’t bother me at the stadium – the City of St. Louis has a law that says you can’t scalp tickets within 50 feet of the stadium.  Hubby got off the MetroLink train and met me at the Musial statue.  We ate our burgers and fries and then went to the will call window to pick up our tickets.  When we got up to the window, we discovered we were supposed to go to the group sales ticket window.  Oops!  Once that was all straightened out and we got our tickets, I stopped by the program vendor and bought a scorecard.  I have a scorecard for almost every game I’ve been to in the last 20 years.  Scorecards used to be $1.00, but are now $2.50.  It seems that everything is going up in price.

We then went to the area where the Social Media event was being held.  The event location was across from the Champions’ Club party room on the second level of Busch Stadium.  We proceeded to a table where three smiling Cardinals employees gave us our “Tweet Me in St. Louis” T-shirts – after we showed them our tickets, that is.

Our gathering place for the evening

Where we got our t-shirts

Some nice ladies in their seventies asked me to take a couple of photos of them with their new T-shirts, so I obliged.  I asked them if they were on Twitter, but they said no, they were only on Facebook.  I gave them my name and told them to look me up on Facebook.

I met Tom Knuppel, who runs the CardinalsGM.com blog.  He gave me his card.  I asked about Bill Ivie, but Tom said he’d be along later.  We ended up sitting behind Tom during the game and had some really nice conversations about baseball with him.  Hubby and I were sitting at a table near the outside wall but I started getting cold, so we moved to another table.

My nametag for the evening

I made a name tag with my Twitter handle and avatar on it in case any of the Twitter #stlcards hash tag folks were there.

I saw a group of guys hanging around talking.  The back of one of their T-shirts said “Pitchers 8” and I realized it must be Pitchers Hit 8th from Twitter, who I follow (along with many others).  Seeing as this was “Social” Media Night, after all, I went over and introduced myself.  I also met Jason R. (@CardsFaninBigD) and his girlfriend; Chris Reed (@birdbrained); and a couple of other folks.  I also met Bill Ivie and yes, Erika, he did have some freebies for me.  Bill gave me a couple of can koozies, a Fox Sports MW hat, and a little book called “Tale of a Baseball Dream” by Jerry Pearlman.  Bill and the other guys told me where all you Diamond Diaries ladies live.  No wonder you all can’t get to Busch Stadium very often!  You all live too far away!

From L-R: Bill Ivie (@poisonwilliam), Dennis Lawson (@gr33nazn), Jason R (@CardsFaninBigD), me, Dathan Brooks (@Dathan7) and Chris Reed (@birdbrained)

I told the guys I was looking for Matt Sebek because I was supposed to touch his hair.  I even printed the Tweet that said that the recipient of the DDN SMN tickets could touch Matt’s hair, but the elusive Mr. Sebek was nowhere to be found.  Perhaps he thought I would stalk him, who knows?  I tried, Erika, I really did!  I tried looking for him in the stands, but I struck out there too.

Around 6:50 p.m., hubby wanted to find our seats, so we took our leave of my new friends.  On the way out, I showed the Cardinals employees at the entrance to the event my name tag and suggested that the next time they scheduled a SMN, they should have name tags available to write our Twitter handles and our Facebook names on.  They told me that it was a good idea and thanked me for my suggestion.  Maybe they should set up some laptops too so folks could post on Twitter and Facebook right from SMN.  Hey, not all of us have smart phones.  My cell phone bill is expensive enough without adding a data plan.

Here is a photo of me and my hubby in our seats.

Somewhere between the gathering and our seats, I lost my ticket.  But hubby had his ticket, so we knew where our seats were.  Our tickets were in section 170, row 15, seats 2 and 3.  Or so we thought – when we got there, someone was sitting in seat 3.  (Darn squatters.)  Whoever had seat 1 didn’t show up, so hubby and I sat in seats 1 and 2.  It’s nice sitting on the end of a row; you don’t have to make people get up so you can get out to go to the bathroom.

Section 170 is near the left field foul pole.  Here are some photos of the view from our seats:

Hubby thought that no one would hit a foul ball back in Section 170, but Albert Pujols hit a foul ball to Section 169, which was the section to the right of us.

May 16th was our 19th wedding anniversary, so I went to the Cards’ website on Sunday night (the deadline is 48 hours before the game you want the greeting posted at) and entered an anniversary greeting to be shown on the scoreboard at the ball game.  You only get 24 letters and spaces, so you have to be creative.  The message appeared on the scoreboard in the 4th inning.  It read, “Happy Anniv. Mike-Diane.”

And oh, yes, I guess I need to write a little bit about the game.  Dirty Danny D did a great job on defense.  Jaime Garcia looked very sharp – he gave up some hits, but they were only singles.  And we unfortunately had to watch Albert Pujols hit into yet another double play.  Albert!  Please run a little faster.  Thank you, your fans.

We had to leave after Lance Berkman’s AB in the 6th inning.  We had to get back on the MetroLink train, ride it all the way to Scott Air Force Base and pick up our son at grandma’s house.  It was 11:20 p.m. by the time I got to bed.

Thanks again for the opportunity to attend SMN on Diamond Diaries’ behalf!  Hubby and I had a great time at the game!

Keeping Score With A Rookie

Before I say anything, I have to talk about the last two games. Monday’s game looked more like the D’Backs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but a win is a win. Last night brought some fireworks with the bats, which is entertaining since there was a lot of moaning and groaning before the game about what looked like a terrible lineup! That’s one of the things I love about baseball – you absolutely never know what will happen until the last pitch is thrown.

So I have a little special something for all of you today – a guest writer! I suppose that’s unfair since she’s not a writer at all. In fact, she is my baby sister, Rachel. The two of us braved the heat on Sunday in Kansas City, and despite the horrible outcome of the game, we had some fun. She only wanted to see three things: a stolen base (she saw three!), a Cardinals win (well…), and she wanted to learn how to keep score.

Keeping score is becoming a lost art form in my mind, so I enjoyed teaching her all the crazy ins and outs of the process. Because of that, she wanted to share a few things she learned. Remember – she’s not a writer, so be nice! 🙂

On Sunday afternoon my sister Angela and I went to game three of the Cardinals/Royals series.  While I have been to many games at Kauffman Stadium, I have never kept score.  My sister therefore decided that we should keep score for Sunday’s game.  I made several mistakes on my scorecard, and because of that I came up with nine things any fan needs to know before keeping score at a baseball game. So here are my nine tips for rookie score keepers:

1.  Pay attention to the starting lineup.  It is definitely not good when you skip over Albert Pujols and your scorecard ends up with scribbles on it before the game even starts.  This also can mess you up later in the game if – like me – you end up with no room to write in another players’ name when there is a change in the lineup.

Inside jokes? Probably,
but it makes me laugh!

2.  When recording the starting lineup, feel free to use nicknames.  I chose to use my sister’s nicknames because I found them highly amusing.  They made my scorecard a lot more interesting and the game a lot more fun. (Check out her lineup on the right!)

3.  Pay attention to the inning numbers.  Several times on my scorecard I recorded a play in the wrong column because I forgot that it was a new inning.   Along with that, when players at the bottom and top of the order are batting, make sure that you record them in the same inning and do not start recording the top of the order in the next inning.

4.  Each player on the field is given a number. This starts with the pitcher, then the catcher, and then it moves around the bases and into the outfield, ending with right field.  This number is used when recording who made the out.  For instance, if the batter flies out to the left fielder, you would record a number 7 for that player’s at bat.

5.  The shortstop’s number is not 5. It is 6.  The order goes first, second, third, and then shortstop.

6.  When recording a strikeout, you use the symbol K. Sometimes you record it backwards instead of forwards.  This happens depending on whether or not the batter swings or strikes out looking.  If the batter strikes out swinging you would use a forward K, then if the batter strikes out looking you would use the backwards K.

7. I learned several shorthands that are used while keeping score.  The first one that I learned was actually in the first play of the game – a hit by pitch. It was marked as HBP.  The next one is one that I had trouble with.  I assumed that a walk would be labeled with a W, but that stands for win.  Instead a walk is marked as BB for base on balls.  Along with that, an intentional walk is labeled as IBB.

8.  Some more shorthands that I learned include FO and FC which stand for force out and fielder’s choice.  I had some trouble recognizing the difference between these two, but I learned that a force out is recorded when a batter makes it on base but then is thrown out trying to advance to the next base.   A fielder’s choice, however, happens when the fielder chooses who they are going to throw out.  If there is already one runner on base they could decide to throw that runner out instead of throwing the ball to first to get the batting runner out. I think.

9.  The final thing a rookie score keeper needs to know is what to do when a pitcher leaves the game.  The most confusing part of the totaling process is the runs and the earned runs.  If a pitcher leaves in the middle of the inning and there are runners on the bases the pitcher can have more runs added to his total even after he has left the game.  If the runners that the exiting pitcher put on base score, then their runs also count towards the first pitcher’s total runs.
A finished product. Nice job rookie!

The third game for the Cards and Diamondbacks battle starts at 1:15PM this afternoon. Here’s to Jeff Suppan finishing off the… you know what. I’m not going to be the one blamed for jinxing it!
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