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Official Scoring Questions for Stew

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#1 stewthornley

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:11 AM

This is a forum for people to ask questions about official scoring.  I will address these questions in stories I write for Twins Daily.

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#2 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:18 AM

Great ... to give posters an idea of 'where you're coming from,' could you post a bit about your experience as a scorer, i.e. how you got into it, how long have you been doing it?

 

Thanks! Interested to see what you write.

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#3 notoriousgod71

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:22 AM

Thank you for doing this.

 

Why is MLB's definition of "ordinary effort" completely void of common sense?Why is it not considered ordinary to field a ball hit two steps to your left and then make a proper throw? Why is it an automatic single plus error when a throw from an infielder goes into the stands even though it is obvious that the runner would have been out by ten feet if an ordinary throw was made.

 

Why does MLB clearly favor the offensive side of the game when assessing errors? Why have official scorers at all if MLB can and will override a "suspect" decision?

 

Thank you in advance!


#4 ashburyjohn

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:39 PM

Great ... to give posters an idea of 'where you're coming from,' could you post a bit about your experience as a scorer, i.e. how you got into it, how long have you been doing it?

 

Thanks! Interested to see what you write.

Stew passed along to me this summary:

 

Stew Thornley began official scoring in 1981, getting it as a dual job with public-address announcing for a state community college tournament. He began official scoring of Minnesota Twins games for Major League Baseball in 2007 and in 2013 he was named to the Official Scoring Advisory Committee, joining Ron Roth of Cincinnati and Bill Mathews of Tampa Bay. He is also a datacaster for Gameday for mlb.com.

 

There's a lot more to Stew than his work for MLB. Here's an article with interesting tidbits: http://www.startribu...mist/307320081/

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#5 John Bonnes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 07:03 PM

 

Thank you for doing this.

 

....

 

Why does MLB clearly favor the offensive side of the game when assessing errors? 

 

....

 

Thank you in advance!

 

I felt like a lot of ng71's questions could be shortened down to just this. I'm not sure how comfortable Stew is talking philosophically about MLB's strategy regarding this, as opposed to a nuts-and-bolts question about official scoring, but I think this question by ng71 is probably the question I hear the most; it seems everyone questions if errors should be awarded more often, even announcers. So let me ask a few follow up questions....

 

1. Stew, do you think MLB has moved towards these calls favoring the hitter and fielder (and thus against the pitcher) more than they did when you started scoring baseball games?

 

2. Do you think these calls at the MLB favor the hitter/fielder over the pitcher more than they do at other levels, like the minors or independent league or even high school?

 

3. If either of these answers are "yes," any theories as to why?

 

4. Finally, it appears that MLB is working harder to make their official scorers consistent in these calls. I'd love to hear you explain some of the quality control procedures that MLB has in place. (And whether those procedures have resulted in less rogue "that was an error" calls.)

 

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#6 Brandon Warne

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 07:05 PM

Stew -- has there ever been a play that has gone from a shortstop to a right fielder, to be scored "6-9"?

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#7 amjgt

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 07:39 PM

How often do official calls you make get overturned, after the fact?

Who's job is it to do that?
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#8 ashburyjohn

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 08:33 PM

What are the decisions by the scorer that can affect the box score? Off the top of my head I can think of only these - there must be a bunch more:

  • Winning pitcher in case the starter goes less than 5 (your article)
  • Error versus hit
  • Error versus extra-base hit
  • Passed ball versus wild pitch
  • Defensive indiffference versus stolen base

Regarding the above list: once errors are recorded, there is no intended latitude regarding earned runs, is there? Likewise RBI? Is there latitude to declare bunt attempts as sacrifice versus trying for a base hit?

 

You get grief from all directions regarding errors/hits. Do any of the other decisions arouse scrutiny?

 

What's the most unexpected complaint you ever got regarding a scoring decision?

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#9 spinowner

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:36 PM

Many teams employ infield shifts in which the third baseman moves to a position between the second baseman and the shortstop. To me this means that in actuality the third baseman and the shortstop have swapped positions. Why is that not reflected in the box score and in the scoring?

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#10 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:58 PM

Go back to Armando Galarraga's "perfect game" 7 seasons ago.

The umpire clearly blew an obvious call. The next batter was put out, ending the game. It was such a unique play. My question to Tigers fans at the time was: Couldn't the scorer or the league contrive an error for that play (E-3 on Cabrera for poor underhand throw, or something) and at least let the pitcher officially keep a no-hitter?

Follow up question. What is the scorer's working relationship with umpires, if any.
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#11 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:28 AM

Couldn't the scorer or the league contrive an error for that play (E-3 on Cabrera for poor underhand throw, or something) and at least let the pitcher officially keep a no-hitter?

E-10. Error on the umpire.

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#12 stewthornley

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:44 AM

Hey, folks, thanks for the questions.  Junior member, we've had a few times that a right-fielder has been brought into the infielder, so there was a chance for a 6-9 play.  Nice.

 

Chi Town Twins Fan - I have something I'm going to include in a newsletter for the SABR Official Scoring Committee that gets into how I started scoring when I was a kid.  Not sure when it will appear - later this year - but it gives me a chance to make a plug for SABR (sabr.org) and it official scoring committee: http://sabr.org/rese...earch-committee

 

More later.

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#13 John Bonnes

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:30 PM

Thanks for the great start everyone. I'd also encourage you all to bookmark this page. I'd love to see comments when you see a Twins game (official scoring )call that you disagree with, or that the announcers comment on or criticize. 


#14 notoriousgod71

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:19 PM

 

Thanks for the great start everyone. I'd also encourage you all to bookmark this page. I'd love to see comments when you see a Twins game (official scoring )call that you disagree with, or that the announcers comment on or criticize. 

Please, I do not want to get banned!


#15 Parker Hageman

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:32 PM

In the history of MLB, has a center fielder ever caught a foul pop?

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#16 caninatl04

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:03 PM

Infield fly, and the umpire calls an infield fly.The ball drops and a runner advances a base (which he does "at his own risk").How do you score this, and how do you annotate it?


#17 stewthornley

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:19 PM

A few replies.  Parker: Legend has it that cf Johnny Mostil but the people who look into legends determined that this legend was of the urban type.

 

Regarding questions about how I got into scoring and how to score the shift, there were a couple of articles about it, one by me, in the current issue of the newsletter SABR Official Scoring Committee (another plug for joining SABR and this committee:

 

http://sabr.org/cont...ewsletter#shift

 

My contribution addresses the shift and then goes into my waxing eloquent about scoring as I grew up.  We're about to come out with a new newsletter, and in the one after that I think I have something in the hopper about how I got into official scoring, but a recap: In the 1980s and 1990s - with community college tournaments and the Minneapolis Loons independent team - it was public-address announcing that sometimes had me doing both jobs.  As I prepared to be one of the Twins official scorers, I tuned up by doing Saints games for a couple years. Maybe I'll use that in my next article on Twins Daily.

 

Have scorers gravitated more toward hits in the past decades?  I don't know.  Errors per game have definitely gone down, but I also believe players are better - in many ways, including fielding.  Look at how good every first baseman - not just the Gold Glovers - are in picking throws in the dirt and saving a teammate an error.  I don't recall them being that good when I was a kid (and I'll admit that recollection is a squishy thing).  But if they are better, can the increase in first baseman scooping throws in the dirt be enough to account for fewer errors per game?  I don't know, but I think about it a lot - especially when I'm in meetings at my regular job and should be thinking about other things.

 

It's helped that since 2012 we've been able to meet each year, look at plays, discuss situations with the aim of standardizing our calls.  Joe Torre, who decides on scoring decisions that have been sent in by a team or a player, has been with us, showing video of plays and discussing them.  In my opinion, this has helped a lot.  I wrote in an intro for our manual that the line between hit and error will always be fuzzy, not fine.  But by meeting and doing what we do, we can reduce that band of fuzziness.  And I think we have.  We try to gravitate to one another in how we make our decisions.  This is about in only thing in my life in which I am a conformist.

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#18 spinowner

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:43 PM

I just want to say I love this thread. I used to keep book a lot around 1985-1990 when I went to quite a few games on my own. I lived within bicycle distance of the dome. I'd lock my bike somewhere convenient and buy an inexpensive upper deck ticket from a sidewalk broker. Once inside I would tell the usher stationed at a stairwell that I needed to (pretend to) use the pay phone there. It wouldn't take much time for him or her to stop paying attention and I'd be down the stairs in a flash. There was always a vacant seat near the infield and it would be me, a beer, a hot dog and my scorebook. 

Edited by spinowner, 05 June 2017 - 06:43 PM.

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#19 Craig Arko

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:54 PM

I just want to say I love this thread. I used to keep book a lot around 1985-1990 when I went to quite a few games on my own. I lived within bicycle distance of the dome. I'd lock my bike somewhere convenient and buy an inexpensive upper deck ticket from a sidewalk broker. Once inside I would tell the usher stationed at a stairwell that I needed to (pretend to) use the pay phone there. It wouldn't take much time for him or her to stop paying attention and I'd be down the stairs in a flash. There was always a vacant seat near the infield and it would be me, a beer, a hot dog and my scorebook.


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#20 spinowner

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:54 PM

 

A few replies.  Parker: Legend has it that cf Johnny Mostil but the people who look into legends determined that this legend was of the urban type.

 

Regarding questions about how I got into scoring and how to score the shift, there were a couple of articles about it, one by me, in the current issue of the newsletter SABR Official Scoring Committee (another plug for joining SABR and this committee:

 

http://sabr.org/cont...ewsletter#shift

 

My contribution addresses the shift and then goes into my waxing eloquent about scoring as I grew up.  We're about to come out with a new newsletter, and in the one after that I think I have something in the hopper about how I got into official scoring, but a recap: In the 1980s and 1990s - with community college tournaments and the Minneapolis Loons independent team - it was public-address announcing that sometimes had me doing both jobs.  As I prepared to be one of the Twins official scorers, I tuned up by doing Saints games for a couple years. Maybe I'll use that in my next article on Twins Daily.

 

Have scorers gravitated more toward hits in the past decades?  I don't know.  Errors per game have definitely gone down, but I also believe players are better - in many ways, including fielding.  Look at how good every first baseman - not just the Gold Glovers - are in picking throws in the dirt and saving a teammate an error.  I don't recall them being that good when I was a kid (and I'll admit that recollection is a squishy thing).  But if they are better, can the increase in first baseman scooping throws in the dirt be enough to account for fewer errors per game?  I don't know, but I think about it a lot - especially when I'm in meetings at my regular job and should be thinking about other things.

 

It's helped that since 2012 we've been able to meet each year, look at plays, discuss situations with the aim of standardizing our calls.  Joe Torre, who decides on scoring decisions that have been sent in by a team or a player, has been with us, showing video of plays and discussing them.  In my opinion, this has helped a lot.  I wrote in an intro for our manual that the line between hit and error will always be fuzzy, not fine.  But by meeting and doing what we do, we can reduce that band of fuzziness.  And I think we have.  We try to gravitate to one another in how we make our decisions.  This is about in only thing in my life in which I am a conformist.

I still say it's not a shift but a swap of positions. What if the 3B is positioned between the SS and the 2B for six straight batters covering two full innings? To me the infielders from L to R are the 3B, the SS, the 2B and the 1B, in that order, at the time the pitch is delivered, no matter where they were on the previous pitch or the subsequent pitch. I'll accede to the authority of the scorer, but my opinion is that the current protocol on this matter is wrong and should be changed.

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