Last Saturday’s Connecticut Tigers game was a rained-out rain out (PPD of a make-up double-header). I don’t want to go all infinite progression on you, but the make-up double-header PPD means two more double-headers, in baseball math. (Blog post forthcoming.)
As we made our way to the concourse in the downpour, clutching umbrellas in one hand and swag in the other, I wondered if someone made a good score-keeping app. My soggy program included a scoresheet, which was no longer useable, and it occurred to me that someone might make a digital version. I didn’t need it any more that night, but the program’s demise prompted my app inquiry for future use.
A Twitter query produced no recommendations, so I settled on the first — and highest rated — app in the Play store: iScore. Before I get to my iScore review, I want to add that I am kind of surprised AtBat doesn’t include a score-keeping feature. It will give you scoring info, but it won’t let you try your hand at it yourself. It seems to me that such a learning tool might be helpful in getting fans participating in games — as much as game selfies, etc. I think the problem is that MLB is so busy chasing casual fans — who presumably won’t keep score — that it ignores more serious fans.
That said, my interest in score-keeping is very casual. I do not crunch the stats for fun in my spare time — and especially not for short-season A ball. Scoring is a sometime fun activity for me. Randomly keeping score at a game helps you stay in it — and with enough beer, it prompts you to wonder how the hell so-and-so got to second before you are distracted by the next batter’s walk-up music. See, cas.
I decided to try out iScore at home with a Tigers game first to get the feel for it, which may or may not have made the experience worse. I watched the online tutorial at lunch and set up my teams so I’d be ready at game time. Here was the first annoyance. You have to set up a team and type in the names of the players to set your roster. You can enter the players’ numbers, ages, handedness, and all that, but, you know, keeping it cas.
I set up the Tigers and went to add the ChiSox. I realized then that the app keeps an alphabetical list of all players combined. This would be handy if you were, say, scoring AL Central games regularly and needed to move players between teams due to trades. For me, it was pointless; a feature I did not need to score one game. It annoyed me to have to forward through the name list screen every time I added another player. Boooo!!! Strike one.
It was my night to cook (chicken tacos*), so I listened to but did not score the first couple of innings of the game. It turns out that iScore does not allow you to skip ahead innings, so Paper and I decided just to put in info from Gameday to catch up while we ate. However, the app requires soooo much information, quick entry wasn’t an option. You couldn’t just mark that Candelario got an out — no, you have to select “out” and then what kind of out (ground out, etc). Then, the field screen opens, and you have to drag your finger to the place where the ball landed. Then, you have to enter who fielded the ball. If another player is already on base, you have to enter their status to advance to the next batter as well.
Needless to say, catching up the first few innings was taking longer than Tigers at-bats. We never did figure out how to score a single. (If he’s batting and you selected “single,” why would you need to mark if he stole a base, there was a passed ball, etc as well? He’s on first because he hit the single. Duh. Just go to the next batter.) Strikes three, six, eleventy-billion!
iScore is probably super useful for the undomesticated stathead or for league play. It compiles stats for the players you enter based on your scoring and will export the game data to a shareable pdf. These are great features for travel team coaches or rec league managers — which begs the question, do you need OBP’s for beer league players?
As a handy digital scorecard, however, iScore was a solid pop out. It was too bulky for one-time casual use, and it isn’t flexible enough for the demands of practical daily fandom. Maybe I’d like it better at the park, but I’m not eager to go through the roster set up again just for an A ball game. For the time being, it’s back to a ketchup-stained scoresheet for me then.
*chicken tacos: dice a couple of large chicken breasts and chop a white onion. Cook both in a little oil on medium heat until slightly browned. Add a can of corn (drained) and black beans, drained and rinsed. Add a packet of chicken taco seasoning and a little water. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer to let the seasoning take. Serve in small tortillas with a little sour cream. We usually make an avocado salad to have on the side.