The Only Great Scorebook
Keeping score is somewhere between a rite of passage and a badge of honor for any serious baseball fan. There is a secret code involved that all scorekeepers learn. Once one progresses to the level of veteran, a scorekeeper generally expands upon this basic code with symbols and notations of their own. The act of charting the game is somewhat meditative. There is a singularity of focus, which makes one a conduit for the game for the span of each half inning.
Conjoined with the act of scorekeeping is the scorebook. The scorebook is a memory bank. It is a chart of the game’s actions, but it’s great strength is to recall the game’s stillness as well. Looking back at old games recalls the people and the time that the game lived alongside.
But almost all scorebooks are ugly as shit. First off, for something that’s supposed to be portable the things are honkin’. Some have 15 batters, some have only 9 innings. Many have a ton of unnecessary columns and rows for keeping stats like caught stealing and sacrifice flies. And they all feature a tragically hideous cover, bound by a plastic spiral. Well, all but one.
The scorebooks from Eephus League are attractive. Bethany Heck ( @EephusLeague ), their creator, did a phenomenal job. They are actually portable, as they cut out all the extra batters and moved some stats summaries out of the game section. They even managed to squeeze in a 10th and 11th inning. Plus, for the tactile aware, the paper feels terrific to write on.
They also feature a page which precedes each game, wherein the scorekeeper fills in who sang the national anthem, or denotes the weather and their seat number for the day. This adds a lot to the value of the scorebook as a document, since you are drinking in these details of your surroundings and building a memory. So later, as you flip through the old scorebook, that memory is richly and easily evoked.
Eephus League also includes both a detailed fold out and a quick reference card, for teaching the beginner how to score. As someone who has been keeping score since around age 5, I can’t tell how effective these are, but they seem extremely clear, and are certainly attractive and well organized.
It’s nice to look forward to carrying something attractive to the yard or having something of quality to keep score on at home, as I wait for the season to start. It’s even nicer to know that other people out there are deeply in love with this little corner of the game.