Goodbye, paper baseball scorebook. Hello, iScore app.
I like scoring baseball games. As nerdy admissions go, it’s not nearly embarrassing as the fact that I picked up the habit while playing in a Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball dice-baseball league during my lunch hour in high school.
These days, I will often bring a paper scorebook with me to the ballpark. Scoring a game focuses you on the game, gives you a quick-reference sheet for what’s happened previously, and provides a souvenir of your trip to the ballpark for later perusal. I’m not as obsessive about scoring as my colleague Philip Michaels, but I do enjoy it.
With the exception of people who I go to the ballpark with, I’ve kept this predilection of mine a secret. But my daughter is now playing her fifth year of organized softball, and someone’s got to score the games. Last year I experimented with scoring via Faster Than Monkeys’s $10 iScore Baseball on my iPad, and it worked pretty well.
This year, I’ve scored every game I’ve attended, and used the iScore Baseball app on my iPhone for most of them. The baseball-scorekeeping app world has improved greatly since Phil sat next to me at Spring Training 2010, attempting to keep score on his iPhone and swearing repeatedly as he got frustrated and his iPhone’s battery life dwindled. A combination of continual iScore Baseball improvements and my gradual understanding of how the app works has made me a believer in scoring using an iPhone. In fact, I’d say that any organized baseball or softball team above the fifth-grade level is cheating itself if it’s not scoring every game using an app like iScore Baseball.
Once you input rosters (which can be laborious at first, though once your team’s roster is saved, you can re-use it, and a Quick Lineup mode enters generic names for opposing players), scoring a game with iScore Baseball is simple. Essentially, the app interviews you about what just happened on the field. Tap Out to score an out, and it will ask you what sort of out was recorded. Tap Ground Out, and it’ll ask you to tap on the diamond to indicate where the ball was hit, and tap on the positions that recorded the out. If there are runners on base, it’ll then ask you if they advanced and if so, how.
In the background, the app is translating all that into proper baseball statistics. If you’ve got friends or family who want to follow the game remotely, iScore Baseball even feeds data to a webpage that shows a live, pitch-by-pitch view of the action. (I used this feature to let my wife check in on my daughter’s first playoff game while she was at work.)
Over the course of the season, the statistics keep accumulating. By the time my daughter’s team was in their playoff tournament, iScore Baseball could show me detailed stats on each batter, including a scatter chart showing their hitting tendencies. (At the 10-and-under level, this largely exposed whether a girl was capable of hitting the ball out of the infield or not.) I was able to export a compiled stat sheet from the app and email it to the coaching staf.
Once a game is done, iScore Baseball can generate and email a box score, a complete scoresheet (in PDF format), and even team stats.
CORN (10) AT WHITE SOX (12) CORN AB R H BI WHITE SOX AB R H BI Sydney H 2 1 1 2 Rachel W 3 1 0 0 Frankie 2 2 0 1 2 Marissa W 2 3 1 1 Sophia 3 3 1 1 0 Sylvia G 2 2 1 1 Kylie 4 2 1 1 2 Jamie S 3 3 2 2 Lexi 5 2 1 1 1 Katie O 1 2 1 2 Rica 6 2 0 0 0 Hannah K 3 0 0 0 Sydney P 1 1 0 0 McKenna B 1 0 0 2 Alix 9 1 1 0 0 Emily S 1 0 0 2 Ellie 10 1 2 1 1 T de S 0 1 0 2 Morgan 11 2 1 0 0 Charlotte 7 1 1 0 1 TOTALS 19 10 6 9 TOTALS 16 12 5 12 CORN 360 1—10 WHITE SOX 442 2—12
For relaxation, I still prefer scoring on paper. But in the past year, scoring baseball games on my phone has transformed from an exercise in pure frustration to an easy, fun experience. As long as my daughter’s playing organized softball, I’m going to score her games digitally.