Johnson: A glimpse into life as an official scorer, with Stew Thornley

From SABR member Sarah Johnson at Twins Daily on May 17, 2016, with SABR member Stew Thornley:

“How is that a hit?” Most baseball fans have said this after the scoreboard flashes the result on a sharp grounder or botched fly ball. The person in charge of making these hit/error determinations is the official scorer, often an anonymous recorder of stats until their judgment puts them in the spotlight. Recently I had a chance to shadow Stew Thornley, one of the Twins official scorers, to get firsthand insight into this sometimes misunderstood part of the game.

At Target Field, the official scorer sits in the first seat in the front row of the press box on the left as you’re looking at the field. When I picked up my media pass I noticed the person who signed in before me was from MBC Korea, one of the country’s three major broadcasting systems. Most of the time the press box was quiet, punctuated mainly by the sound of typing. For the official scorer, the tools of the trade include a laptop, binoculars, a scoresheet plus extra notepads to keep pertinent information close at hand and a TV monitor showing the FSN feed. I realized quickly how useful it was to have the monitor on a ten second delay, not just for the official scorer but also for the datacaster who sits next to the official scorer and is responsible for recording every game action for those following online.

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Originally published: May 19, 2016. Last Updated: May 19, 2016.