This baseball season try an age-old tradition: Scorekeeping with a scorebook
It’s baseball season! If you go to a Milwaukee Brewers game, you’ll find a whole range of fans — from the tailgaters to the racing sausage enthusiasts. But you might also see some with a pen and paper in their hand diligently watching the game.
They are scorekeeping. It’s a tradition as old as the sport where a fan, player, coach or really anybody at the game or at home records every detail of a baseball game as it unfolds. Each page has a ledger that documents who played that day, columns on how each batter performed and if they made it on base.
John Kuehl and John Rockwell are co-founders of Numbers Game, a Wisconsin-based company, that supplies scorebooks to baseball fans around the country. And they emphasize that even though the hobby is a tradition, each individual scorekeeper can note whatever they think is important.
Kuehl says, "We just saw a guy that notes the hat shuffle game right." And Rockwell adds, "If you're in Milwaukee, you can note who won the sausage race."
Rockwell is an artist and a casual score bookkeeper, but he couldn't find a book that met his needs or looked visually how he wanted. So he texted Kuehl, his number one baseball friend to collaborate and make a scorebook together. Kuehl immediately agreed.
They both are big baseball fans and at one point in their lives played the sport. Beginner scorebook enthusiasts will need to know how to track the basics — like if a pitch was a ball or a strike. A short one page tutorial is at the front of a Number Game book.
But they stressed that anyone can pick up the hobby. "For beginners, you will make mistakes, or you will do things differently the second time than you did the first time and so on," Kuehl stresses. "And that's all allowed."
Rockwell says, "We leave it pretty wide open, you know, a lot of times books will be pretty prescriptive, like put this here, put that there, ours is a little more open."
The Johns share this mindset when it comes to the 2023 MLB rule changes too. "People are just figuring out and having fun in some cases," Kuehl says."We try to provide score sheets that are flexible for your personal style."
Even though baseball has a reputation for running slower compared to fast-paced sports like basketball or hockey, the game moves quick if you're keeping track with a scorebook.
"Keeping a score book helps me like pay attention to the game a lot better. I noticed things, I wouldn't otherwise notice," Rockwell reflected.
"The suppose that lack of action isn't maybe quite as intense when you're noticing all these things you're trying to track," Kuehl states."Like, I don't even want to go get a beer because I think I'm gonna miss stuff ... [scorekeeping] shows you more of what's happened in the game and makes you appreciate what's happening too."