Alex Belth: Late Bloomer

Alex Belth is a friend of P&P and one of baseball’s longest-tenured bloggers. Check out his cultural and baseball musings — and work from his stable of talented writers — over at Bronx Banter.

I didn’t start keeping score until I was in my Thirties. As a kid, I never had the patience. It’s true that I didn’t have anyone teach me how to score but my attention was also too scattered for that kind of thing. Occasionally, I would give it a try, because I was envious of my friends who did score games. But it never lasted more than a few innings.

Eventually, I kept a scorecard when I went to Yankee games, using a hybrid of official notations and my own system, which varied from game to game. I’ve always envied those scorebooks with neat, clear handwriting; I’m way too emotional for that.I like the graphic quality of it and look at it like I’m making a collage (I’ve always envied those scorebooks with neat, clear handwriting; I’m way too emotional for that.) I’m generally a nervous, uptight fan and I discovered that scoring gives me a way to channel my energy and keep me focused on the game. It’s almost like knitting. I sit there, clicking on my pen, rolling the corners of the pages, rocking like Leo Mazzone, scribbling little notes, entertaining myself.

These days, you don’t need to score to know what’s going on, the scoreboards and your cellphones can give you all that information and more, but still, I find it a soothing practice. But I only score at Yankee games. If I’m watching the Mets, and the game doesn’t matter to me emotionally, I’ll revert back to being a kid, keeping score for a few innings before I get distracted.

I like to think that keeping a scorebook will give me something to enjoy looking back on when I’m old. I rarely revisit them but I don’t throw them out either.

Alex uses the books from ILovetoScore.com, which were designed by a frustrated fan looking for a better way. Kind of a precurser to Bethany Heck’s work and definitely worth checking out, if you’re into thoughtfully designed scorebooks.

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