The slow death of baseball box scores in newspapers

over at Poynter.org has an interesting article about the slow death of box scores in newspapers.

“It was not an easy decision, but in some ways it was,” Persinger said. “Why were we running something that is widely available elsewhere? For most of our younger readers, if they care about the Red Sox, or want the latest on their fantasy team, they are going to get those statistics and box scores elsewhere and get them faster than they would in the newspaper.”

I suppose this is just the next step in the slow death march that is print newspapers, but I for one will miss cracking open a newspaper and pouring over the day’s box scores to see just who did what.  (Then immediately skipping to the comics section.)  There was something so…adult about it.  Sitting in the kitchen with my mother, I for once didn’t feel like a child, but one of the grown ups.  As a kid growing up before the internet took off, it was our imaginations that fueled our love of this sport.  Now-a-days kids can go to any number of websites including MLB.com and just watch highlights or see how their favorite player/team did.  I’m sure most these days have apps for that.  But I for one will always miss the old fashioned Box Score.

6 thoughts on “The slow death of baseball box scores in newspapers

  1. For a brief moment in time, I kept a sports scrapbook. I still have it, actually. There’s articles about Mickey Mantle getting a new liver and then dying; an ad I cut out of S.I. of Ryne Sandberg hocking Bases Loaded 3; random photos of Tom Glavine and Steve Avery from The Sporting News (back when The Sporting News was still an actual broadsheet newspaper); and box scores. Random box scores of Cubs games and Braves games. Faint yellow highlighter illuminating names like Grace, Lemke, Smoltz and Maddux. Looking back on it, it’s funny, but this was how I kept up with the thing I loved – baseball. Although my grandfather was a big baseball fan, we didn’t live near him. My parents could care less about it. As a child, I taught myself the basics of baseball by reading box scores.

    Baseball meant that much to me, that I would cut out box scores of games and get out a highlighter to circle my favorite players.

    I’m sad that future generations won’t experience it the way I did. However, when I was a kid I would have killed to be able to relive certain plays in an instant!

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  2. This makes me sad as well. I come from a newspaper family. My folks took the am edition and started every morning with coffee over the newspaper. On Sunday afternoons after church and pot roast, we lounged in various spots around the living room and kitchen table to read the weekly edition together. “Are you done with the ____ ” (whatever section) was standard part of the day’s conversation. Anyway, every morning my parents went through the box scores. We didn’t have cable as a kid and not being in an MLB town meant that we pretty much got one baseball game a week to watch on TV (national broadcast). The newspaper was really it for following much of the games. Living in Oklahoma but rooting for a Michigan team, the only way to keep up with the Tigers was the box score (and an occasional feature story from the wire). I probably couldn’t recognize a lot of players from my childhood from pictures. I only know them from their numbers.

    Also, my grandmother kept a scrapbook of my grandpa’s career (such as it was). You don’t get a lot of press when you’re in the minor leagues or playing for an independent team. No one wants to take your picture — and they definitely aren’t sending any info about your game across country. So, a lot of the book is summaries and box scores from local papers wherever he was playing. I never saw my grandpa pitch. I really mostly know about his playing from scores on yellowed old scraps that’ll probably get lost or tossed after my generation. (And some of the info on B-Ref is wrong, so it’s not like you can count on that preserving the old records accurately all the time.) It isn’t a full picture, but it’s one of the most reliable records we’ve got — or what survives of them.

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  3. I grew up with not just box scores, but short recaps of the games in our local South Florida papers. I learned to read by struggling through the stories to my mom. Both of my parents had played on the company/town sponsored
    teams of the Central Florida 30’s. Because of the stories and box scores, I could read way above grade level when I started school. I, too kept scrapbooks of box scores and stories of the games. How else was I to keep track of my favorite player ( Willie Mays)?
    I guess redesign isn’t only for electronic media! Out with the old! In with the new! Hooray!

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