Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Field Trip: Jammers Jammed

I went to a Lake Monsters game last night with Mock and one of his cousins. Mock has several cousins and this is the second mention for this one so he needs a pseudonym. We shall call him The Carpenter, because he is one. The game was delayed about an hour due to rain. The reserved section is under the roof so it wasn't so bad once we found our seats - plenty of time to eat, grab a beer, settle in, etc. The visitors were the Jamestown Jammers, a Florida Marlins affiliate.

Image via Brent Powers LHP

I did try to keep a scorecard, as I did for our previous Monsters' game, and actually made it deeper into the game this time. I think it's time to discuss the value of the scorecard exercise. In the current information age, keeping one's own scorecard certainly isn't necessary. Even minor league Websites provide detailed play-by-play game summaries. But the main benefit is that keeping score forces you to pay attention. For watching a game on television, it's wonderful. I find I have a much better sense of a game's big picture and pick up on more of the finer details as well. When the boys asked me last night how many walks there had been (quite a lot compared to base hits at that point), I had the answer right in front of me.

On the other hand, the main drawback is that it obligates you to pay attention. I might even go so far as to call it anti-social. I lost the thread of the game last night when I got caught up in conversation in the late innings - which is, after all, the whole point of going to a game with other people. I also find the scorecard provided in the typical game program is inadequate - not enough room for substitutions. I prefer the form I've been using at home. Regardless, I don't think I'll try to keep score at live games anymore.

Which is not to say that the program isn't worth the 50 cents I paid for it. The inserts with lineups, stats and general team updates are excellent. Besides, who can't use a free pencil?

There were plenty of base runners in the game: eight hits, eight walks and two errors. But there were only 3 total runs, the Monsters winning 2-1. The low-scoring affair prompted a question which I put to you as well, dear reader: what makes for a good baseball game? With other sports, my usual answer is that both teams play well and it's a shame one has to lose. A late-game mistake can ruin a great game for me and baseball nearly always hinges on a mistake - perhaps a small one - by somebody. Do extra innings make for a great game? They can help. A close score is certainly essential, ideally keeping within three runs for the entire game to my mind. We agreed that no-hitters qualify as great games. I'd say the ultimate is when both pitchers are working no-hitters late into a contest. Any thoughts out there?

In my experience, an individual baseball game can't quite compare in atmospheric electricity to a close basketball game, for instance. I remember basketball games at my high school where the entire crowd stood for the whole game. Baseball games aren't like that. The aesthetic of the sport is different, and that's okay - wonderful, in fact.


  1. I like that the game we saw, our team had a no-hitter into the fourth (?) despite being down 1-0.

    I hope we can make it to another game before the season ends....