The Death Of The Scorecard At The Ballgame
Recently I went to a baseball game at that imitation ballpark in the Bronx they call Yankee Stadium. After being gently frisked at the admission gates and going through the turnstiles, the thing that did not greet me was what you see above: a vendor selling scorecards.
You could buy a scorecard, but not for 10 cents as it was at the Polo Grounds in 1949. The archaic idea of a scorecard costs $10 at Yankee Stadium and is available at the souvenir shops spread throughout Yankee Mall Stadium. The scorecard is buried in some glossy souvenir publication which I did not purchase, nor did anyone else.
When I used to attend a lot of games in the 1970’s and 80’s buying a scorecard was a no-brainer. From anywhere from a reasonable 25 cents in the early 1970’s to two dollars in the late 80’s, filling out that scorecard and having a program was a nice memento of a game I went to. There is a certain enjoyment derived from scorekeeping and having a permanent record of a game you are attending.
I just dug this program of my closet from a game I went to on Thursday evening September 6, 1973. The Yankees came back in the bottom of the eighth inning after trailing 6-5 on a three run home run from Mike Hegan to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6. Bobby Murcer and Roy White also homered for the Yanks. The time of the game was 2:22.
In my childish way I merely recorded outs as fly outs, ground outs or line outs without denoting the fielders who made the play. As you can see my scorekeeping leaves a lot to be desired, but for a little kid I think I did a pretty good job. Eventually I learned to score correctly.
For 30 cents they packed a lot into 28 pages. The rest of the scorecard / program is devoted to useful information like the American league umpire list, pitching rosters for the league, Yankees broadcasters, the remaining Yankees schedule, ticket prices and other Yankee information such as news and pictures of players and the management team. This includes a young general partner, George Steinbrenner, in his first year of ownership. The program also mentions that the Yankees are playing their final game at the Stadium in September before major renovations will have them play in Shea Stadium for the next two years.
But that was then, and it seems that keeping track of a baseball game with a scorecard is not important these days and therefore almost no one does it anymore. Everything you need to know is on one of the scoreboards plastered throughout all baseball stadiums.
I know there is no real reason to keep score anymore. Yet I feel something intangible has been lost with the death of the scorecard. An entire generation for the most part does not know how to score and it makes me a little sad.
Hey, but at least you can go to a ballpark, sit in an air-conditioned theme restaurant there, or buy $9 hot dogs from $250 seats and spend a good portion of your time watching scoreboard videos and being blasted at ear-splitting volume with music and announcements that have nothing to do with baseball and tweet people “you were at the game.”