F/X VisualizationsFebruary 12, 2010
Another Attempt
By Dave Allen

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.


Significant refinements. Far more intuitive. I would say that this would be a valuable tool to accompany traditional box scores.

Very nice, Dave. I like the original idea and the improvements.

Looks great. Much easier to read. I like that you can see at a glance which innings saw a lot of action and which were quick n easy. You can easily count baserunners and runs. Love it.

I'd be curious to see how it would fare as a running scorecard during live game action. I can see two problems. First, it can extend to the right indefinitely, so there's a possibility you'll run off the end of the page. Second, for NL games it won't capture lineup shuffles that occur with pitching changes. But the simplicity of this image is quite pleasing. Well done.

I quite like it, and the change is a noticable improvement. In fact, If I could find a site which generated them, that's where I'd go to catch up on a game I missed.

How about a count of balls, strike between the event and the name. So:

Utley hit a 3-2 pitch for a HR to CF.

I'd even do
meaning that he had 2 2strike fouls before hitting his HR.

Thanks all.


Maybe after a certain number of batters it would have to start a new sequence below, sacrificing the linearity but keeping it from extending indefinitely. Because you are right a game like this would get pretty long.

Pitcher changes are marked along the top and I guess pinch hitters could be just indicated with an asterisk. Pinch runners would be tricky.


I like that idea. Let me try to add that and then upload a new image.

Absolutely love this. -j

This is brilliant in its simplicity.

Bob, I don't think that those issues would ruin this idea working as scorecards. On 8.5 x 11 paper, quarter inch lines would allow 40 plays/team after taking out space for margins. That is admittedly a bit shy, but not by much. If nothing else, it would make for an interesting exercise.

Dave, would you mind if I turned this box score on its side and tried to make blank scorecards that used this format?

RSS feed still isn't working, even under the "LINEUP CARD" sidebar (on top of "Home").

Help please? :(

wow, this is very cool way to follow the game, nice job.

First I have to say I missed your first attempt, so perhaps my concerns are covered there, but as someone who recently tried to teach his daughter how to score a game, I think this is far more intuitive but I wonder how you would score a double play or a person caught in a run-down. Assists would be hard to follow also.


That would be great if this format would be intuitive enough to teach a child. There are double-plays in bottom of the 5th and 6th innings and in the top of the 7th.

In the bottom of the 9th there is a fielder's choice, but it gets a little complicated because there is also an error on that play. Teixeira grounds to second. Damon is thrown out at second in the fielder's choice and Jeter goes to third. But then there is a throwing error and Teixeira goes to second and Jeter scores, those are the two E's.

This is brilliant.

I think that this could easily be converted into a paper-and-pencil scorecard. It could look similar to my linear scorecard with the description shortened and score removed to allow room for base runner graph.

Dave, would you mind if I tried to make a blank scorecard out of this format?

This is just awesome stuff Dave.