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Posted February 3, 2004
You Think You Know the Rules?
Although you might think that this book, which is a thorough and meticulous discussion of Rules 10.01 through 10.24 of baseball's official rulebook pertaining to 'The Official Scorer,' is only for professional scorekeepers, you would be wrong. If you care what your favorite playerfs batting average is, if his on-base percentage and his slugging percentage are important to you, then you owe a real debt of gratitude to Andres Wirkmaa for writing this accessible guide to scoring. An essential reference for the professional and the dedicated amateur alike, this interesting and informative book reinforces why scorers are so important: all the statistics that are generated around the game of baseball depend upon the oft-maligned and seldom properly-appreciated scorekeepers. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea of the intensity involved in keeping score. Scorekeepers must know and understand all the rules of the game, and must pay strict attention at all times to what is happening on the field. Often, scorekeepers must use judgment and discretion in applying the rules so that the resulting statistics will be meaningful and comparable. The book is filled with examples and illustrations of complicated baseball situations. Despite the format imposed by the rulebook, Wirkmaa manages to provide subtle humor in unexpected places. I particularly enjoyed his explicatory subtitles (he refers, for example, to the 'cSeemingly Pointless, Unnecessary and Incongruous Exception to Rule 10.05(e)'). Fans labor under many misconceptions. Did you think that a fielder must touch the ball to be charged with an error? Not true! Wirkmaa addresses the difference between a misplay and an error and the difference between a plate appearance and an at bat, and provides understandable explanations of a fielderfs choice and how to calculate earned runs. In this surprisingly fascinating book, Wirkmaa also tells us how a runner can be caught stealing and still be safe on base, how a pitcher can be credited with a strikeout while the batter reaches first base safely, and how a batter may have his plate appearance charged to one pitcher but the run he eventually scores charged to a second pitcher. Those who think they understand all of baseballfs rules should buy this book and test themselves. Baseball Scorekeeping is a wonderful book to 'dip into' occasionally just for fun. And when questions about scoring come up, you will find the answers here. A big plus: the book is printed on acid-free paper.
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Posted November 29, 2009
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