Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Rookies

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!

Who is this year’s most valuable Cardinals rookie?

Nearly 60 games in, it’s obvious the Cardinals wouldn’t have a 33-24 record today without the contributions of two rookies: David Freese and Jaime Garcia. Both are among the stats leaders for the team at their respective positions, as well as for the National League overall, and each is definitely in contention for Rookie of the Year honors.

Last week my friend Roger e-mailed the following suggestion to discuss on the blog: “Which rookie has contributed the most, Freese or Garcia? They’ve both been outstanding. I wouldn’t want to have to choose.” It’s an interesting question, especially since I’m always up for making decisions and offering my opinion. (NOTE: If you have a topic you’d like to consider, feel free to e-mail us, cardsdiamonddiary@gmail.com, or contact us on Twitter, @diamonddiaries.)

Back to the question: which rookie has been most valuable for the 2010 Cardinals? Here’s a closer look at each.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
David Freese

One of our CDD favorites, here’s a look at what Batman has done this season.

  • Currently tied for fifth in National League batting average with .314.
  • Has the highest batting average for NL rookies as well as the most hits with 60.
  • His 32 RBI are second among NL rookies, behind Jason Heyward’s 39.
  • He was the first Cardinals rookie with 6 RBI in a game since 1925.
  • He’s made many spectacular defensive plays at 3rd base, especially bare-handed pickups.
  • He was National League Player of the Week in early May.
  • And, though not related, I wrote a post a month ago on what a great start he was having and he’s been mentioned many, many times here on CDD.

Jaime Garcia
Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Here’s a look at Jaime.
  • His ERA is 1.47 following last night’s game, second in the major leagues behind, of course, Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • His current record is 5-2, with his 5 wins tied for first among National League rookies.
  • He currently has 55 strikeouts, most for an NL rookie.
  • He’s yet to allow more than 2 earned runs in any of his starts this season.
  • He’s thrown quality starts now in 10 of his last 11 appearances (to update Derrick Goold’s blog from yesterday). The only non-quality start was because he only pitched 5 innings; he didn’t allow any earned runs in that start (May 19 against the Marlins).
  • Also from yesterday’s Birdland blog: Going into last night’s game (61 1/3 innings this season), Jaime had a 1.32 ERA, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau that is the lowest of any NL rookie through his first 10 starts since Fernando Valenzuela had a 1.24 ERA at the same point in his rookie year. In his 11th start, Valenzuela allowed 7 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings and his ERA rose to 1.89. So, Jaime is ahead of that through 11 starts.
  • He’s only given up 2 home runs this season, which is tied with Kyle Lohse for the lead among Cards starters.
  • Jaime also has been featured in this post by Angela, was pitcher of the month in my April and May month-in-review posts and has been mentioned several other times as well.

My Most Valuable
Not to discount anything at all David has done, but Jaime is my choice. His numbers, and his impact, are just that much more impressive to me. And he seems poised beyond his 23 years when he’s pitching, especially when you consider his first starts this season were against Yovani Gallardo, Johan Santana and Tim Lincecum. He’s certainly been fun to watch, although David has as well, and I look forward to seeing their continued success throughout the rest of this season.
So, that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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