This summer, keep busy by keeping score

For KRTKids

There are lots of neat things to do at a baseball game besides eat hot dogs and peanuts. And keeping score is one of them.

Next time you go to a game, pick up a program — the scorecard is included. Each program comes with instructions on how to keep score, but here are some basics.

The scorecard includes spaces for each player on both teams. Their positions on the field are numbered one through nine, like this: pitcher: 1; catcher: 2; first baseman: 3; second baseman: 4; third baseman: 5; shortstop: 6; left fielder: 7; center fielder: 8; and right fielder: 9.

Across the top of the scorecard you’ll see a number for each inning, first through ninth. The box in the top left corner is for the first batter in the first inning. Fill in the next box for the next hitter, and so on until the inning ends. Then move to the next column for the second inning, and so on.

So to mark an out, you keep track of which position on the field the ball was hit to. For example, a ground ball to the shortstop (6), in which he throws out a runner at first (3), would be marked 6-3. A fly out to center field would be marked by the number 8 with a circle around it.

Here are some common abbreviations to make scoring easier: 1B — single; 2B — double; 3B — triple; HR — home run; K — strikeout swinging; backward K-called out on strikes; BB-base on balls; HBP — hit by pitched ball.

If a player reaches base, you show how he did it by using one of the abbreviations above and tracking the runner’s progress around the bases. Some scorecards already having a diamond drawn for you. Other times, you’ll need to draw it yourself.

Once you’re done scoring the game, you’ll see that you can tell what happened on any play just by looking at your scorecard.

Even if you don’t get every detail right, keeping score is cool and you’ll enjoy the game much more than you did before. Plus, you can relive the game over and over when you get home!

To learn more about scoring baseball, visit The Baseball Scorecard Web site (
© 2002, McClatchy/Tribune Information