As someone who struggled to grasp even the basics of baseball scores, it is fascinating to enter into conversation with an expert, who feels precisely the same way about cricket scoring, which I find relatively straightforward. To me the baseball scoreboard is a mass of letters and figures which seem to say everything, without actually telling me anything, particularly the baseball scores.
I accept that it is something that will probably become easier the more games I attend, but even that is a major hurdle and I don't really understand anything other than the basics. I have taken time out to visit ScoresAndOdds.com, the scores and odds site which does have some excellent information to pass on, but to be honest I'm still not confident.
I have managed to deduce that a statistical summary of the game is recorded in the box score by the official scorer and that line baseball scores are always recorded as part of this. Line scores report total runs by innings, total hits and total errors. However, the multiple additional factors which are also recorded, leave me scratching my head attempting to correctly interpret the mass of information put before me.
Home runs and total bases are within my grasp, but I really start to lose it when it comes to such things as double plays, triples, sacrifice fly's, foul out's, walks, strikeout's, blown saves and most bizarrely - caught stealing! ScoresAndOdds.com can do only so much, they do require a little bit of basic understanding from the visitor. To me, the scoring at cricket is by comparison to baseball scores, so much simpler and whilst accepting that the cricket scoreboard is quite busy, I do believe it is unambiguous.
I do appreciate that to score, it is required for a player to touch all four bases, as well as crossing all four base paths. I have had to familiarize myself with the positions which all contribute towards the baseball scores. I will agree that in this, the terminology is far easier to work out than cricket's equivalents. The pitcher, the catcher, first, second and third basemen; left, central and right fielders. They all stand in logical places, whereas with cricket, the positions can take some understanding. Backward short square leg, silly mid off, deep long leg, third man, gully, cover point; these really make little sense to anybody other than the avid fans.
The one thing I can understand with regard baseball scores is the individual statistics which are comprehensive to say the least. My fascination with facts and figures took me to ScoresAndOdds.com again to research the various splits. There are baseball scores for the best batting average, number of home runs, earned run average and saves. The names featuring in these lists were recognisable, with the likes of Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, and Adrian Beltre from the Boston Red Sox, leading the American League (AL) batting averages and Martin Prado of the Atlanta Braves and Andre Ethier from the LA Dodgers leading the way in the National League (NL).
The top baseball scores for earned run average is claimed by David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL and Colorado Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez in the NL. Home Run tables were headed by Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and Joey Votto from the Cincinnati Reds in the AL and NL respectively. For saves the honors went to Joakim Soria of Kansas City Royals in the AL and to Heath Bell of San Diago Padres in the NL. Profiles of these players are available in ScoresAndOdds.com which help paint the picture of these star men.
The tables of these two different leagues are split into East, Central and West; comprising 5 teams in each. The American League's strongest teams seem to be the New York Yankees in the east; the Minnesota Twins in central and the Texas Rangers across in the west. The baseball scores for the National League have left the Atlanta Braves top of the eastern section, Cincinnati Reds lead the way in the central division and the San Diago Padres heading up over in the west.
A trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field several years past, endeared their Cubs to me and it is them that I continue to follow, even if I haven't really got much idea about what is actually going on. The baseball scores were flashed around without meaning a great deal to me, but I remember being totally astonished at the size of the crowd. There were thousands in the crowd and I remember being baffled as to why these people weren't at work as it was mid day on a Wednesday afternoon.
It wasn't as if it was a one off; they would play the next day in the same stadium and again a few days later. Indeed that was the other totally unique fact which again amazed me; with the schedule these teams had to undertake obviously exhausting. They play every day and can literally travel hundreds of miles from state to state and back to home base, which is a staggering itinerary. A quick check on ScoresAndOdds.com confirmed the ridiculous travel path all the teams have to carry out. My admiration for their fitness moved to another level.
I continue to follow the baseball scores as eagerly as ever and my grasp of the sport is improving – slowly; but for now I think I'll leave the gambling to the better informed.