Sunday, July 29, 2012

Once Upon a Box Score

Welcome to the Route 30 Detour! US Route 30 intersects at I-95 in Philadelphia and goes from coast to coast, including passing through Pittsburgh and the home of Drexel University SMT student and blog contributor, Bryan Fyalkowski (@fyalkowski)...

Sometimes I miss the simplicity of sports before the emergence of the internet, most notably the newspaper. There are many reasons why newspapers are dying, and the traditional box score is dying with them.

Do not get me wrong, watching an in-depth online box score update every thirty seconds has its benefits, but the classic look of a newspaper box score has always been very appealing to me. In fact, I learned how to do basic math by adding up the stats in the MLB box scores.

There is something so innocent about knowing only the basics of a box score, while being able to piece the stats together to use your imagination to create your own specifics of the game. There is no play-by-play, just a grid of stats and list of happenings.

AB, R, H, RBI, BB, K and AVG for hitters. IP, H, R, ER, BB, K, NP and ERA for pitchers. The stats our forefathers created and nothing more. A list of the extra-base hits, not separated by team. Letters next to players in association with notes at the bottom to signify when they pinch-hit and who they pinch-hit for. It is utter brilliance in simplicity.

The Philadelphia Inquirer sports section from July 8, 2012.

On the other hand, a typical ESPN box score is a perfect example of getting all the information you could possibly want out of a two-dimensional game story. In addition to the stats in the newspaper box score, this has added intricate numbers such as OBP, SLG, NP (for hitters), GB/FB (for pitchers) and a play-by-play of the scoring.

It really is the age of basics vs. the age of the all-knowing. To be honest I have not been reading newspapers at all since I came to college because of some of the reasons expressed in the first link of this post. Newspapers cost money, the internet is on my computer and iPhone and I want the immediacy of information.

But from time to time, I think back to the time when I walked down my front steps every morning to grab the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and peel it open to the sports section. It was a simpler time but a restricting time, which has since evolved. Sadly, because it had no other choice.

Enjoy your trip back to I-95 and I'll see you next week!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh yes nothing like the good old boxscore. Stupid internet. Go newspapers!