My friend Craig Merrigan alerted me to a funding opportunity on Kickstarter for a new baseball scoring system called the Eephus League of Baseball Minutiae. I paid my money, specified my t-shirt size, and a few days ago the three scorebooks I ordered arrived in a padded envelope.
These are elegant little black books — think Moleskine — with an orange belly band, and a back flap pocket with some little Win/Lose/Night/Day stickers, a handy scoring cheat sheet, and a big set of illustrated instructions. The target market for this scoring system is the novice scorer who wants to learn the venerable shorthand system of keeping track of a baseball game through the cryptic chicken scratches, symbols and abbreviations familiar to true baseball junkies.
I gave the system a whirl and scored a televised game — Red Sox at Cleveland — with a pencil in hand and my iPad set up to display the pitches through MLB 2011 — the one app I would take with me on a desert island.
The Eephus system is very basic but kind of cute. There’s even a space to write down what you had to eat at the game. But there isn’t a whole lot in the detail department, especially for stats geeks like me who obsess about pitch counts and need to be able to note AB-R-H-PO-A-E-2B-3B-HR-SB-Sac-HP-BB-SO and RBIs for each player. The fact the Eephus score card lacked an Error column or even an RBI column will consign the remaining two books to gift status. But the system is a great introduction to scoring, and the form factor is very nice as it will fit into a back pocket very easily.
I remain a fan of C.S. Peterson’s Scoremaster books – big 8×11″ spiral bound notebooks with a lot of room to sprawl and mark up, but need to give the publisher behind the Eephus League a huge thumbs up for making an important part of baseball fan-dom accessible to the tyro in need of a little style to go with their $8 beer. And they write a pretty darn good baseball blog too.