There were many of comments to my post last week about re-formatting the box score. Although some liked it, the majority applauded the effort but were not pleased with result. Outside of one disgruntled commenter who thought that the very act of attempting a new box score was an assault on the game of baseball for 'the average fan', the reasoned objections could be distilled to two: you could not easily find each player's stats for the game, and following the baserunners progression was hard.
I admitted the first limitation to begin with, and even though it was raised by a large number of people, I am going to ignore it. I guess I should have called the graph a score card rather than a box score -- as some commenters suggested -- so people would not assume they could find those stats. As I stated in the comments I was more interested in producing a graph that allowed easy reconstruction of the game in your mind than finding a new way to report game statistics.
For that reason the second issue, not being able to easily follow the base runners, I found more troubling. Some commenters suggested I just leave it out entirely but I wanted to keep it. I thought the information was needed to give a feel for how important individual at-bats were, whether a team stranded a lot so runners, when runners were moved over and other things very important to the flow of a baseball game. The problem was not too much data, but data improperly displayed.
Luckily in stepped Matt Lentzner. Matt sent me an emailing suggesting an ingenious way to deal with this problem and make the runner progression very easy to see. I hope you find the solution as satisfying as I do.
Another addition, which was suggested by a commenter in last week's post, was to include the type of ball in play (bunt, grounder, pop-up, fly and line drive) and the fielder. So F8 is a fly to center. If that is a hit the F8 is boxed. So here is the result, and let me say again it owns a huge debt to Matt.
Free to reproduce for non-profit/personal use, but we reserve the right to license it to for-profit enterprises.
The runner progression is done very nicely, I think, as it allows you to follow each individual runner and to see how each batter did at progressing the runners. Runner who eventually score have their line bolded. Progression by steals and errors are indicated with letters and runners thrown out on the base paths with exes. Fielder's choices and reaching on a dropped 3rd strike are also possible (In the top of the fourth Jayson Werth was thrown out at first on a dropped third strike). This format keeps all the aspects I liked about the original format:
This formulation gives a better feel for the pace of the game, and allows the events to be easily recreated: in the top of the first CC Sabathia escaped a base-loaded two-outs jam; Phil Hughes took over to start the eighth and walked the only two batters he faced, both of whom came around to score on Raul Ibanez's single; Utley's two solo-HRs were the only runs through the first seven innings; Cliff Lee didn't allow a runner past first until the ninth, and up to that point faced just three batters over the minimum; the Yankees burned through five relievers, who gave up four runs, in the last two innings; the top of the ninth ended with Shane Victorino getting thrown out at home on a Ryan Howard double and the game ended with two more Cliff Lee strikeouts. All of this can be easily seen through a close, but not difficult, reading of the chart.
This approach has the added benefit of being easily recreated by hand on graph paper, as alternative way to score games. Anyway thanks to the readers, and especially to the commenters and Matt, for humoring my bizarre impulse for a second week.