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Scott on Sports

by Scott Lowery
Scoring the Game
 

Ardent followers of Major League Baseball no doubt spend a little time each day glancing at those detailed box scores appearing in the newspapers. Baseball statistics are a most talked about part of the game with even the most casual observer aware of their significance to the game.
Every time a game is played, someone is charged with the responsibility of compiling the game information as the team’s official scorer. From Little League to the Major Leagues, the scorer is the game’s accountant logging in every pitch or play. For the Williamsport Crosscutters, Ken Myers has been performing those duties since 1994. A 1983 graduate of Williamsport High School, Myers’ interest in scorekeeping preceded his 1987 University of Scranton Communication Degree.
“I started score keeping with Memorial Little League when I was 13 years old. I continued to do that in the summers until I went to college. When I came home, I scored the games for the Billtown Amateur Baseball League that played at Bowman Field. Then in 1988, when Minor League Baseball made its return to Williamsport, I began score keeping for the Williamsport Bills in 1988 until they moved to Binghamton after the 1991 season. In 1994, I think it was the Sun-Gazette that recommended me to score for the Williamsport Cubs after they had moved here from Geneva. That summer I helped out in the souvenir stand and scored games when a Sun-Gazette representative couldn’t do it. I finished that season as the scorer and as they say ‘the rest is history.’
“I usually arrive at the ballpark about 3:30 p.m. and begin my computer work to be able to send out text message updates about the game that evening. Then I meet with each manager to get their starting lineups for the game. I post that information in the concourse area so that any fans that may be scoring the game can get the line-ups and then set-up my scorebook for the game. Then I set up the scoreboard page for the message center operator to do and set up to gather the Phillies’ scores from their Minor League system and the scores of other NY-Penn League games being played that evening. When the game is completed I get the box scores for both teams so that the managers can get their paperwork sent to the Major League offices. Finally, I clean up the press box area and call it a night.”
“Scoring the game itself is the most enjoyable part of the job. When I go home at night I try to leave the game at the field so it doesn’t keep me up at night. I’ve lost a few nights sleep thinking about certain scoring decisions in the game.”
Despite all the statistical information involved with the game and nuances like launch velocity and bat speed, Myers has not experienced much change in his duties as official scorer.
“I still score the game, but I don’t have to fill out that long legal size sheet that would make your eyes spin with how much stuff they wanted you to provide to the NY-Penn League office after each game. Now, I just have to provide one report to MLB Advance Media in New York City and they provide the information to anyone who needs it. Usually about ten minutes after the game all my statistical work is done.”
There have been instances when a scoring decision Myers has rendered is disputed by one of the managers.
“I’ve had it happen several times. There is only one time when both the manager and the pitching coach ended up getting fined for their actions. It happened toward the end of the 1995 season when Jamestown was playing here. I ruled a play one way and their manager and pitching coach were crying and moaning that it should have been ruled the other way. I sent a report to the NY-Penn League president and later received notification that both the manager and pitching coach had been fined for their actions. I let it go, and when I saw the manager the next season neither of us brought it up again.”
As for memorable moments — Myers said they involve no-hit games.
“The most recent was last season during Ranger Suarez’s no-hitter in a seven inning game against Auburn. Watching that was like come-on-already, if someone is going to break it up let it be a clean hit instead of it being something that I would have to make a ruling on. Then there was a game a few years ago against Mahoning Valley that was not only a no-hitter, but the game was tied after nine innings. Then in the top of the 10th the first Mahoning Valley batter broke up the no-hitter. That was crazy.”
Like almost everyone else, Myers is appreciative of the many improvements Bowman Field has seen this season, but he has his own suggestion.
“Scott, as you probably know, I would love to see restroom facilities for us in the press box. I’ve only complained about it since 1994. But we do need those facilities. Maybe they will put it in for the Big League game August 20. We’ll see. I don’t even open up my soda until the fifth inning and the after the ball game it’s mad dash to the men’s room.”
In addition to scoring the Crosscutters game, Myers has another labor of love during the winter.
“I’ve been with the Williamsport Basketball team for thirty seasons and doing their scorebook for 23. This will be my 31st season coming up in December when the team plays in the York Tournament. December 10 will mark the 800th ballgame I’ve been involved with Williamsport Basketball. It shows that 1. either I’m getting old, or 2. I enjoy what I’m doing and all the traveling that Williamsport does.
Myers has no idea how many Minor League games he’s scored.
“Maybe I’ll have to sit down one day and figure that out. It’s enjoyable doing the baseball and the basketball games. In the winter basketball keeps me in practice for the baseball games in the summer. I find it great doing the games for the Cutters. As long as they want me, I’ll keep on doing it.”

 
 
 
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