How do I become an official scorer in professional baseball?
June 22, 2017 9:08 PM   Subscribe

I like keeping score. I'm curious what it would take to do that professionally.

I'm not a sportswriter, sabermetrician, etc. Am I automatically unqualified/uncompetitive?

Can I start in Minor League Baseball? The Arizona Fall League? College leagues?

Short of literally knocking on the press box door, are there non-obvious places to meet official scorers and get their advice?
posted by Picklegnome to Work & Money (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here's an article about how some minor league scorers got started (I know one of them!). You don't need a special degree, just a love of baseball scorekeeping. The guys in the article mostly got their jobs through connections with the team, which can involve working with them in almost any capacity. Another path is to sign up as a scorekeeper for local high school games (or even rec league, if they use them). Typically you have to pass a test of some kind given by the state high school sports association. A lot of people interested in reffing or scorekeeping or umping or whatever start out at the HS level, and when you've prove reliable and competent over a couple years, opportunities start to come for the next level of the game, and then the next.

A sort-of tangential way might be to start working for small media ... I have a friend who got a job calling hockey because he called up a free community paper and offered to do write-ups of the local minor league hockey team (for free) because he went every game and looooved it and there was no local media coverage. The local real paper liked them and started paying him as a stringer to write it up for them (previously they only covered the season opener and playoffs, having a small sports staff). The hockey team press box staff got to know him and liked him and his enthusiasm and invited him to start announcing games. So if there's a local community paper or small newspaper or regional sportsblog or something of that nature that you could write up games for, for a minor league team that's not much covered in local media, that might be another option. (You could even do something like a special box or sidebar called "Scorekeeper's Tip: Picklegnome's Play of the Game" and explain something interesting about manual scorekeeping related to the game that day, like, "What makes this a ___ instead of a ___?") It would help you build connections with the teams in the area and their staffs, and would let you do some scorekeeping in a journalism way if not as The Official Scorekeeper.

I have quite a few friends who work in pro and college sports as refs, coaches, officials, press people, and team staff, and virtually all of them would be delighted by a polite e-mail saying, "I'm interested in your job, could I talk to you about it?" Especially in the minor leagues!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:35 PM on June 22, 2017 [12 favorites]


If you didn't want to go the professional route right away, another avenue might be with Baseball Info Solutions. They're often looking for scorers for minor league games. I did this about a decade ago, and while it didn't lead to the majors, it was a fun time. I also met a bunch of similarly-minded folks (you generally score the game in pairs) and I got to see a bunch of AAA games from decent seats.
posted by gabey at 6:37 AM on June 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


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