I promised awhile ago, circa Scorekeeping Week, that I would use and review the ilovetoscore.com scorebook, produced and offered for sale by Michael Schwartz. Well, I finally got out to the ballpark to take it for a spin.
This is a big scorebook, with a dramatic cover and spiral binding. It’s closer in appearance to the rig toted around by the thirteenth pitcher on a twelve-man high school pitching staff, whose most important job is making sure the studs know their own ERA. I’m not a super vain person, and I’m not all that cool, so I was happy to settle in at my seat with the scorebook and get down to business. I am, however, just self-conscious enough to bring a messenger bag with me to conceal this great colorful folio while I walked around town and mingled with the people in the wild.
So, subtlety isn’t on the docket when it comes to the curb appeal of the ilovetoscore scorebook. Its great size demands full attention–befitting scorkeeping as a whole, really–and I had to deflect a few non-scorekeeping-related comments from my companions, among them a certain Pitchers & Poets co-blogger, in order to train my focus and fill out my lineups to prepare for the game. With the scorebook perched on my knees, which I had to pinch together slightly awkward to create a lap-desk, I finally took in the beauty of the blank scorecard.
This scorecard, as you might have guessed, offers acres of space, with all of the classic spaces for baseball-type information. Four lines per batter in the lineup, space for eight pitchers, slots for date [June 13, 2011], time , location [Seattle, WA], wind [present], temp [dropping by the minute], condition [overcast], and attendance [they never announced it]. What I like about these touches is the appreciation for the scorecard as artifact. When I look back at this card in years or decades, I can read not only what happened in the game, but I can also partake in my own inside jokes. That means that right now part of my job is to leave little nuggets for future Ted to enjoy many years from now. Like the one about wind being present. Past Ted is already cracking me up!
Also off the beaten track is the NOTES section, with a few lines for general observations, I guess. In this space, I noted who my companions at the game were (with Eric being among those ranks, this being, amazingly, the first baseball game we attended together). I also logged the existence of the strange farting pantomime that left-fielder Vernon Wells directed towards the drunks in the standing room bar section in center field around the 8th inning. Wells hit a couple of homers that night, one in the third and one in the seventh, so I guess he earned the right to gas a few hecklers.
“Line quality is so underrated” – Eric Nusbaum
The scorecard’s boxes feature baseball diamonds made of dots, providing a structure to work from while also welcoming the substance that a pencil mark provides. The little field also makes a nice palette for the “path of the ball” mark that I used to show where a batted ball went. There are some small boxes within the box within the box that would be perfect for balls and strikes, had I gone that route. As it was, my scorekeeping was already detracting from sociability enough without me marking every pitch.
One gripe: I wanna flip. By this I mean, when I switch from one batting side to another, or when I want to refer back to something that happened to the other team, I would like to flip the book over in a vertical direction. The ilovetoscore.com scorebook requires a horizontal turn, which is oddly cumbersome. Much easier to flip it up and down. I don’t know if the vertical flip is normal, or even possible. But I want it. Maybe I’m crazy.
This is a fine, fine scorebook. It’s solid and sturdy book meant for heavy use, and if you love to score you should fill this thing up like Jack Kerouac on a liter of whiskey. What you sacrifice in terms of aesthetics, you’ll make up for with good old fashioned scorekeeping use.
As I kept score, I wanted to be a play-by-play announcer, using the book to comment on the trends of the game and the player performances. Its weight suggests use, and using it engaged my brain and reminded me to share the information I gathered. I spouted figures and facts: who doubled in what inning, how many strike outs were swingless, scanning the tidy boxes that were as wide and clean as an outfield.