Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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'Little help' in looking for a loyal scorekeeper

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: July 13, 2013 - 3:58 AM

As the battle cry went on the baseball fields or basketball courts of Fulda, Minn., when a throw caused a baseball or a wayward shot caused a basketball to get away and someone was closer to said spheroid, "Little help.''

I'm writing a piece for Saturday's Star Tribune that has a chance to be fun. One missing item is an interview with a dedicated scorekeeper of baseball games.

Way back in the '60s, when the Twins were new to Minnesota and baseball fever was mighty, I knew a couple of fans -- a mother and her daughter (who was married and also a mother) -- who kept score of every game by listening to the radio broadcasts. And when one missed a play, she would immediately get on the phone to the other and say. "What happened with Lennie Green?,'' or "Did the Twins finally get that Lu Clinton out ... what happened?''

Scoring  a ballgame is a lost preoccupation with today's fans. You don't need your own version of what happened on a score sheet; you can find the play-by-play on your smart phone.

I wandered around a Twins game for a while last week and didn't see anyone filling out a score sheet. I went to Midway Stadium the other morning, and heard the legend of two Saints' regulars in the stands who kept score every game, but they hadn't shown up by the time I had to leave.

Anyway, I need a little help here. If your grandmother, or father, or favorite uncle, still keeps score -- either at home, watching on television or listening on the radio, or whenever they are at a ballgame, let me know ...

UPDATE: This plea served its purpose. I received several nominations for loyal scorekeepers from e-mailers. The folks I used in the Saturday piece on traditions were Amanda Furth, 35, and Maxine Putz, 92. I also was intrigued by this note from Leah Emmans, concerning her mother Carol:

"This is a nomination for an official scorer. Every time my 75-year-old mom and I attend games, we both keep score.  We have been partial season ticket holders for 17 years, and have attended games for significantly longer than that.

"For her, the game is only the beginning.  For more years than I can remember, she has kept an OCD notebook.  Inside that notebook, each pitcher has a page.  She marks every appearance and the results.  She has a home run page for each player marking its day and maybe its significance.  All of it is hand-written in her beautiful former third grade teacher penmanship..

"My kids have taken to bringing her notebook down to players to have them autograph each page.  Although all of the information is available on the Internet, she is not deterred.  Every morning starts with the sports page to update her notebook.  My mom has kept up her notebook through her own chemo and radiation, through caring for my dad as they age, and any other life event.''

NOTE: Old baseball writers called what Carol Emmans still maintains a "day book'' -- a binder or large notebook where you would update stats for all hitters and pitchers on a daily basis by inspecting the boxscores. And then along came Baseball Reference, the best reason of all that the computer was ever invented.

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