We want to recognize your kids this rec season

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 19, 2002

TPRD Director

Despite the advances of technology, keeping accounts of a baseball or softball game with a scorebook and pencil is still the preference of purists. There are software programs that allow you to keep up with the action, but I don’t want a laptop when I’m in a lawn chair at the ballpark.

Keeping a scorebook is an enjoyable hobby for many parents, coaches and fans. To the untutored, it may look like a foreign language. To anyone able to read the lines, dots and notations, it can tell a compelling story. Even if you were not at the game, you could pick up the scorebook and tell that Kasee Carter or Casey Weston struck out 12 batters while allowing only one hit in a 2-0 victory.

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This year Troy Parks and Recreation and The Messenger are determined to provide our community with complete coverage of youth baseball and softball games, from Knox Street to the Sportsplex. We believe the local people want to read the names of their children and grand children, and we are trying to accommodate them.

There are two sets of scorebooks providing information, one set from league coaches and the other set from our press boxes. The scorebooks that are in each pressbox are kept by paid employees of Troy Parks and Recreation, employees that are young people of this community.

The job of the official scorer can be confusing and chaotic. Not only is this young person responsible for keeping the book, but also is responsible for keeping balls, strikes, outs and runs on the scoreboard. The scorer also is responsible for announcing each child’s name when they come to bat. It can be easy, or it can make one feel like an air traffic controller.

Recently our department requested historical clippings that we are preparing to post on our web site. Many clippings brought to us were from baseball games played in the 50’s and 60’s, and pictures and stories of some of the first girl’s softball teams in Troy.

We believe people enjoy reading the names of local youngsters in the paper. It’s a proven formula, but more importantly, these young people deserve the recognition. It does make for good reading, and in the dizzying pace our world is trekking today, our young people need all the direction, support and encouragement they can get.

There are two ways we hope to get games stories in The Messenger each day. The first approach will be for coaches to turn in their reports on each game played, win or lose. Coaches have been given information pads that they are to fill out and turn in to The Messenger. If a team report is not received, then The Messenger will use the pressbox scorebook accounts.

We prefer that all stories originate from coaches accounts, and we encourage all coaches to either prepare the game reports themselves, or designate a team mom/dad to handle this important responsibility. Each team is given a scorebook at the beginning of the season, and every game is usually recorded by the coaches so they can track progress of their team and their pitchers.

It is vital to us that the information in the newspaper is accurate. I believe our pressbox scorekeepers do an excellent job. But scoring is very, very subjective. What you may score a hit, I may score an error. The primary responsibility of our scorekeepers is to keep the score in the book correct, in case there is question or controversy. The scorekeeper must keep the score on the board correct also, and throw everything else into the mix, and it is a very demanding job for very little pay. They are not reporters, but the facts they record can be used for telling a story, if so chosen.

And then there are those that will score walks, errors, fielder’s choices and hit by pitches as base hits. That’s when batting averages swoon, and the information is being used the wrong way.

In a nutshell, a hit is a batted ball that allows a runner to reach base before a fielder can throw the runner out. If the ball is playable but the fielder bobbles the play, drops the ball, allows it to go through his or her legs, then it could be ruled an error. It’s a matter of opinion. If the shortstop dives for a line drive and the ball hits in the webbing of the glove but rolls out, that’s a hit all day long. If the ball is hit to the shortstop, and the ball goes through his legs, or he catches the ball and throws it into the fifth row of the bleachers, then that is an error. An error does not count as a hit.

Thus, we prefer the coach turn in his report, and that way most of the mama’s, daddies and players are happy. So if you are a coach, team mom or dad, please make the effort to provide The Messenger with your game accounts, so your players can get the recognition they deserve.

This is an important time of year for Troy Parks and Recreation, and we want every aspect to be as professional as possible. If you have suggestions or comments, let us know by calling us or e-mailing us at troyrec@troycable.net.