When 100 Tiles Meets 27 Outs

From SABR member Diane Firstman at Baseball Prospectus on October 13, 2011:

My father raised me to love baseball, taking me to many Yankee games and buying me The Sporting News and Baseball Digest, as well as introducing me to Strat-O-Matic. My mother raised me to love card and board games. We would spend many an evening playing gin rummy or bridge, or what would turn out to be my favorite, Scrabble.

Growing up, I spent as much time absorbing the nuances of platoons, ballpark effects, lineup construction, and situational hitting as I did studying the two- and three-letter word lists and playing the earliest PC incarnations of Scrabble. Counting up “hit points” and lamenting Jim Rice’s propensity for “gb(ss)A” double plays became as much a part of my life as memorizing the anagrams of ARSENIC (CARNIES, ARCSINE).

Decades later, my Strat-O-Matic days are over (though I still find myself muttering “you’re a 5” to the TV as some defensively-challenged outfielder circumnavigates the globe in pursuit of a long flyball, and referring to groundballs and flyballs as “A,” “B,” or “C” depending on their depth/distance). But my two great loves burn bright, as I travel around the country either going to SABR conventions or to Scrabble tournaments.


A group of us baseball-loving Scrabblers have come up with rules for (catchy name alert) “Baseball Scrabble,” as follows:

  • In addition to all the standard acceptable Scrabble words, last names of all MLB players, both active and retired, are acceptable. (You may choose to set a minimum word length of three or four letters, lest you want to overinflate the value of a “Ni”).
  • When placing a player’s last name on the board, you must state the player’s first name. (If you played “CANO,” you say “Robinson” to complete your turn.)
  • Your play can be challenged, either on the basis of the spelling of the player’s name or the first name given. You should choose a “dictionary” for “word judging” of these, like “Baseball Reference.”
  • Optional rule: if you play a player’s name, your opponent owes you $0.50. If the player’s name is also an acceptable Scrabble word (like “BENCH”), you could add some sort of point bonus, or your opponent owes you $1.00

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15302

Originally published: October 14, 2011. Last Updated: October 14, 2011.