As I write more of these baseball broadcasting posts, I will cover things I found made my broadcasts something that could be at least listened to. You know, things that Joe Buck for absolute certain does not do.
Today’s post is about scoring games.
When I started at KCSB, I did what I had done in high school to score games: I used a scorecard with little diagrams of the field. That’s not to say that I only used the scorebook when I was in college. I had at least some playing time. But still.
After scoring in just black ink, I decided to up my game by using a different color when it was a first-pitch strike. I kept tallies of pitches per inning I wanted to have maximum information to say on the air in real time in case it mattered.
There’s a distinct pen click sound in my early broadcasts.
Before long, I outgrew the paper scorecards. I knew there had to be an electronic scoring system. After all, the live gamecast had to be from manual entry, right?
I found that Daktronics, the scoreboard manufacturer, makes the software I was looking for. With simple keystrokes, I could score the game easily, consistently, and with quick situational stat recall. The problem was that it effectively costs a million dollars.
I don’t remember the exact price, but even now, the price for the full software is $250.
I knew the radio station wouldn’t foot the bill, and I was even more certain that I wouldn’t.
So I kept serarching.
I came across Ballstat / Ball Score that advertised a fully featured program that, with simple keystrokes, I could score the game easily, consistently, and with quick situational stat recall. For free.
Now, that was in the station’s price range!
The software was so good that, while the free version was nominally the trial version, I paid the 20 for the full version because, even though it was identical, it gave the guy who made it some money. In this case, it was $20. It was worth it to me personally to shell that out for how much work it saved me.
Sure, I had to learn all the keystrokes, but that was pretty easy!
And when I wanted to pull up situational statistics, I just had to double-click a cell. It was absolutely insane.
A few years ago I looked up the software’s creator because I wanted to share how much all the hard work he’d done had helped me. I wanted to share that I used his software in a Major League park, even if that park is the home of the San Francisco Giants (boo!).
But it turned out he’d passed away years before.
I hate to end it on such a downer. I guess I should have acted earlier on that.