When it comes to big spring break tournaments I understand that a lot depends on volunteer scorers, and therefore I usually don’t hold them to the same standard that I do those who regularly score games. But this past week I found myself tied into scorers who there’s absolutely no excuse for.
The 1st problem I had is pretty standard. Someone who doesn’t score a lot of games doesn’t usually understand what “ordinary effort” is, but the 1st fellow I ran into took things to a new level. Remember, I’m in the score booth with these people.
The 1st play that got my attention was a sharp grounder between short and 3rd. The F5 got to it but barely, losing his balance because he was leaning so far forward reaching for the ball. He tried desperately to keep his balance but couldn’t, and when he pulled the ball out of his glove he went tumbling and the ball came loose. “Put an error on the scoreboard”, the scorer told the scoreboard operator. I didn’t bother to argue, but marked it as an infield hit in my book.
A couple innings later with a runner on 1st and 1 out, the batter hit a line drive single to right. The F9 forgot to bend over as he came in and the ball went right between the wickets. The field was all Bermuda, mowed to less than ¼”, and as flat and hard as a pool table. The ball rolled all the way to the fence and not only did the runner on 1st score, but the batter made it all the way around easily. The scorer said, “I’m giving him a home run.”
That one I argued about. His rationalization was the batter ran hard all the way around. He finally marked it as a triple with an error and gave the batter 2 RBIs. I figgered it was close enough and marked it as a single and a 3 base error in my book.
The next day the tournament director was announcing and some volunteer gramma was keeping the book. I didn’t even bother trying to get her to mark the plays correctly, but one inning where there were several changes, I told her the changes on our team. She told me she didn’t bother with defensive changes because they weren’t important. Of course that pi$$ed me off, but I didn’t want to get into it.
Then came the straw. You know which straw I’m talking about. It’s the one that broke the camel’s back. The leadoff hitter in the inning drew a walk and a pitching change was made. After a wild pitch moved him to 2nd, a double drove him in. A ground out to the 2nd baseman moved the runner to 3rd and the 4th batter walked. The 5th batter singled driving in R3 with R1 going to 3rd. the Batter had hustled to 1st and when the throw went to 3rd he tried to make it to 2nd. But a couple nice throws got him for the 2nd out, leaving a runner on 3rd. The 6th batter lined out to F8 for the 3rd out.
I’m doing my little bit of housekeeping and hear the scorer tell the scoreboard operator that 3 runs scored, not 2. I thought I must’ve missed something and asked her to check her book so I could make sure mine was right. She told me the 1st batter had walked, then suddenly slammed he book closed and said she wasn’t checking anything because she was the official scorer and didn’t have to. I showed the tournament director that there were only 6 batters, 3 were put out, 1 was left on base, and 2 scored, but he just shook his head.
Of course to say I was pi$$ed doesn’t cover it, but I just marked my book correctly and bit my lip. As luck would have it, the next inning three runs scored making the score 11-2 in my book but 12-2 in hers. The umpire looked at the scoreboard and called the game on the 10 run rule. I packed up my stuff and left the booth before getting in some kind of fight.
I can understand how inexperience will cause differing opinions about whether something was a hit or an error, but c’mon! Counting runs isn’t that technically challenging!