Tagged: Administration/General

Keeping Score

Going through my bookshelves, I came across a ten-year old document that I thought you might find interesting.

As part of a research project, I’d contacted Howe Sportsdata to ask if they had any official rules for scoring a professional ballgame. I was looking at official score sheets of minor league games, and found some symbols I’d never seen before. Howe sent me a document they distributed to all official scorers, which is a remarkable insight into the scorekeeping trade.

At the time, Howe was the official scoring service for minor league baseball, and collated data for Major League Baseball. Howe is no more, having been acquired by SportsTicker in December 1998. SportsTicker was just acquired by STATS Inc. on March 5. MLB brought all its stats services in-house a few years ago, and shortly thereafter took responsibility for collating minor league data.

One thing I found out from the Howe people is that there is no “official” way to score a ballgame. Most of us learned to score ballgames when we were children, but there are many systems and some people simply make up their own.

Here’s what the Howe document had to say on the subject:

It is not a requirement, but we are trying to develop a standardized scorekeeping system throughout professional baseball. Toward that end, we are supplying you with 200 play-by-play scoresheets, good for 100 games. We understand longtime scorers have their own particular method that they will want to stay with, but otherwise scorers are strongly encouraged to stick as closely as possible to the uniform system outlined here.

These days, it’s all done by computer. Go into any press box in affiliated baseball and you’ll find them connected to a web page programmed by MLB Advanced Media (commonly known as BAM). It’s all a standard interface. When entering lineups, the scorer actually enters for each player a unique ID number assigned by BAM.

But if you’re a fan, you’ll still do it the old-fashioned way, with a scorebook and a pencil.

The Howe document includes a sample scoresheet, the sheet for Game #7 of the 1960 World Series between the Yankees and Pirates. It’s famous for Bill Mazeroski hitting a home run in the bottom of the 9th to give the Pirates the championship (long before it was called a “walk-off” homer.)

Here’s a tidbit I bet you didn’t know … No batter struck out in the game.

Click Here to view the Howe document. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 7 or later to view the document.

“Women in Baseball” Video

The Fullerton Museum hosted on March 7 a lecture on women in baseball. Jean Ardell, the author of Breaking Into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime, was the featured speaker along with two former players from the
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
that was the subject of the movie A League of Their Own.

I videotaped the lecture for Jean. If you’re interested in the subject, or you just want to hear a lot of anecdotes about the AAGPBL and the movie, you may find the video of interest.

Click Here to watch the video. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch. It runs about 80 minutes.

Maya Angelou Puts It in Perspective

Hate.

We see it all the time, every day in our personal and professional lives.

We most certainly see it on the Internet, which gives people free speech but not the responsibility that goes with it. Cowards suddenly find courage on the Internet, where they can post lies, smears, and personal attacks while hiding behind the anonymity of their modem. They can engage in offensive behavior that would get them a punch in the nose if they did it in the real world.

I doubt poet Maya Angelou had that in mind when she wrote “Hater.” A friend sent me the poem a couple days ago after a spate of posts on various sites by anonymous people attacking me for saying that a certain recently published book had credibility problems.

Well, yesterday’s New York Times article validated what I’ve been saying for the last month. ‘Nuff said.

But given the general tendency on the Internet to smear someone when you can’t win an argument on its merits, I thought I’d share this poem with my readers because it has a lot to say about the world we live in.


A hater is someone who is jealous and envious and spends all
their time trying to make you look small so they can look tall.
They are very negative people to say the least. Nothing is ever
good enough! When you make your mark, you will always attract some
haters…That’s why you have to be careful with whom you share your
blessings and your dreams, because some folk can’t handle seeing you
blessed…

It’s dangerous to be like somebody else…

If God wanted you to be like somebody else, He would have given
you what He gave them! Right? You never know what people have gone
through to get what they have.

The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but
they don’t know my story… If the grass looks greener on the other side
of the fence, you can rest assured that the water bill is higher there
too!

We’ve all got some haters among us!  People envy you because you can:

Have a relationship with God
Light up a room when you walk in
Start your own business
Tell a man / woman to hit the curb (if he / she isn’t about the right thing)
Raise your children without both parents being in the home

Haters can’t stand to see you happy, Haters will never want to
see you succeed, Haters never want you to get the victory, most of our
haters are people who are supposed to be on our side. How do you handle
your undercover haters?

You can handle these haters by:

1. Knowing who you are & who your true friends are *(VERY IMPORTANT!!)
2. Having a purpose to your life? Purpose does not mean having a job.
You can have a job and still be unfulfilled. A purpose is having
a clear sense of what God has called you to be. Your purpose is not
defined by what others think about you.
3. By remembering what you have is by divine prerogative and not
human manipulation. Fulfill your dreams!

You only have one life to live…when it’s your time to leave this earth,
you ‘want’ to be able to say, ‘I’ve lived my life and fulfilled
‘my’ dreams,… Now I’m ready to go HOME! When God gives you favor, you can
tell your haters, Don’t look at me…Look at Who is in charge of me…’


I think this also applies to fandom in general. Why do people look for the first opportunity to tear down a successful person? Maya Angelou has the answer — it’s jealousy.

Read Angels fan boards, and inevitably you’ll find people who claim to be Angels fans but have nothing positive to say. They look for any excuse to rip the players, management, executives. I remember one person telling me he would refuse to visit my web site unless I only wrote negative articles! Another person lectured that I should only write articles that would make me “popular.” ?! It’s not about being “popular,” it’s about expressing my opinion, like it or not. Maya Angelou’s warning about trying to be like everyone else reminded me of the demand that I only write articles which would make me “popular.”

One big reason why I’ve done FutureAngels.com since 1999 is I so enjoy being around a team environment where everyone is (or at least should be) geared to a common goal — winning. Individual goals are subservient to the team winning. I get to be around people who are positive, goal-oriented, and (for the most part) self-sacrificing.

It would be nice if the people who spend so much time on the Internet spewing bile would invest that time instead in making a positive contribution to humanity. But as Maya Angelou notes, for some people, “Nothing is ever good enough.”

Two Men in Blue

Gil Stratton and Cece Carlucci
Former Pacific Coast League umpires Gil Stratton and Cece Carlucci attended the 2008 APBPA banquet.

 

Dick Beverage of the Association of Professional Ball Players of America gave me the above photo of Gil Stratton and Cece Carlucci, two members who passed away within the last year.

Gil Stratton was known to generations of Los Angeles television viewers as the sports reporter for The Big News on KNXT (now KCBS Channel 2). But his career was so much more than that. He also umpired in the old Pacific Coast League, and had a career as an actor. Stratton played Cookie in the 1953 movie Stalag 17; his character narrated the story.

Stratton passed away last October in Toluca Lake at age 86 from congestive heart failure.

Cece Carlucci was one of the more prominent umpires in the long history of the old PCL. He was one of the umpires during perhaps the most infamous brawl in PCL history. On August 2, 1953, the Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels went at it for a full 30 minutes before the LAPD restored control. Click Here to read about the brawl, including photos of that event.

Carlucci was inducted in the PCL Hall of Fame in 2003. He passed away last September at age 90 from cancer.

The 2009 APBPA banquet was February 7. Click Here to watch video of the event. Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection are required.

The New FutureAngels.com Banner

The 2009 FutureAngels.com home page banner

 

The new banner is up on the FutureAngels.com web site for the 2009 season.

Who are the depicted players?

The 2008 banner had Angels minor leaguers who were now with the parent club. This year, I wanted to do something a little different. Most minor leaguers will never make the big leagues, players you’ve never heard of and will never hear about again.

At the same time, I wanted to honor Angels’ minor league history. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’ve been writing about the history of the Statesville Owls, one of only two minor league teams the Angels had in their inaugural 1961 season.

The photo on the left is of George Conrad, who was an Owls pitcher that year. Conrad was 11-7 that year for Statesville with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 172 in 168 innings — but also walked 116.

The next photo is of catcher Angel Diaz with the Butte Copper Kings in 1998. Signed by Tom Kotchman, Diaz was an organizational catcher who worked at every level in the system, including Triple-A Salt Lake in 2001. Organizational catchers lead a nomadic life, but they’re invaluable because they provide depth at a critical position.

Joe Urso is second from the right, holding the bat. He’s depicted with the Boise Hawks in 1992, his first professional season. Urso was in the organization as a player through 1997, when he became a coach and later a manager. Joe was listed at 5’7″ but there are those who will allege that’s a stretch, pun intended … He was the endless butt of “short” jokes but incredibly popular. The Lake Elsinore Storm fans loved him so much that he was nicknamed “The Mayor.” Urso’s #7 was retired by the Storm a few years back. He’s currently the head coach at University of Tampa, his alma mater.

Mark McLemore is the player on the right. He’s wearing the uniform of the 1983 Peoria Suns in the Midwest League. Mark was only 18 at the time; his AVG/OBP/SLG that year were .240/.346/.280. Despite that total absence of power, he managed to play his way to the majors, starting full-time for the Angels at second base in 1987. His career ended in 2004 at age 39 with the Oakland A’s, having notched nineteen seasons in the big leagues.

I’ve been collecting card sets for Angels minor league teams when and where I can find them. Some are incredibly expensive, not necessarily because of the players in the set but just that they’re rare. They’re a reminder of just how hideous minor league uniforms can be (e.g. Peoria). Sometimes you find cards for mascots, club executives, local personalities, sponsors, etc. Many of them are in black-and-white until the mid-1980s or so.

When I started doing photography for the minor league teams in 1998, one complaint I heard over and over again from the players was that they wanted action shots on their trading cards, not the posed photos. Every once in a while, I’ll find a card where the player posed irreverently for his picture. Pitcher Jarrod Washburn posed as a batter. Right-handed hitting Tim Salmon posed as a left-handed batter. Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson posed with an unknown beverage in his hand.

Hmmm, maybe next year’s banner should be all gag shots …

Women in Baseball Lecture

Author Jean Ardell alerted me to a lecture she’ll be giving at the Fullerton Museum on Saturday March 7, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

Jean is the author of Breaking Into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime, which I believe is one of the best baseball books I’ve ever read. It is literally the history of women in baseball — not just professional women ball players but women owners, women umpires, “Baseball Annies,” and so much more.

Jean will be lecturing along with two women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. made famous by the movie A League of Their Own. Their appearance is part of the current exhibit, Line Drives and Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women’s Baseball which runs through March 15.

Jean is also the wife of Dan Ardell, an original “future Angel” who played in the Angels minor leagues from 1961 tthrough 1964 and made his major league debut in September 1961.

Baseball Lessons — Teach or Learn

I was given a brochure for Baseball Coast to Coast, which is a web site designed to match instructors with students. The web site is www.baseballcoasttocoast.com.

I can’t vouch for it, but a lot of minor league players look to make a few extra bucks in the off-season doing instruction, so if you’re one of them you might want to register with the site. If you’re interested in learning more about the game, give these players consideration to help them make ends meet. Who knows, you might learn a baseball skill from a future major leaguer.