Several months ago, I promised to share some thoughts about the act of keeping score and the effect on memory. Specifically, when I was writing the game capsules for this blog last year, I was very much out in the cold as far as any specific details of the first two games on the tour in Anaheim and Los Angeles, because those two games were before I took up the practice. I had the boxscores, but those don’t show the flow of a game, they simply summarize the accounting of who did what.
When I found a site that gives play-by-play (and sometimes even pitch-by-pitch) rundowns of every Major League game played since 1919, I was overjoyed, realizing that gave me a chance to re-construct the scorecards, which I promptly did. I then decided that I had enough insight to write an article about how effective reconstructing the scorecards was at reconstructing the memory of the games. And I would write that post… well, not right now, but soon.
Well, obviously, that didn’t happen. Now, that was so long ago, I’m having difficulty remembering what I was planning on saying. Since the point is memory, I’m simply going to summarize what I remember now that I didn’t remember before I made my after-the-fact scorecards. As I write, I am not looking at any reference material, not even the boxscores.
I begin with what I don’t remember. I still don’t remember any specific plays. I mean, I could look at the card and tell you that player X commited an error or hit a homer, but I don’t have the visceral, “mental instant replay” I do for, say, Jason Schmidt’s two beautiful bunts in San Francisco or Ryan Zimmerman’s diving stops in Washington.
But here’s what I do remember (and how much of this comes from my work with the scorecards, I couldn’t possibly tell you):
Anaheim—I know I mentioned my grandmother insisting I call the Angels to see if “there really is a game today.” Now I’m remembering just how incredulous the woman I spoke with was that I would even ask. Grandma was really enjoying our company and not really following the game at all, and after a while we gave up trying to explain to her the peculiar way Angels fans were taunting the umpires. There were two fans behind us intently watching the score in Seattle and talking about how manager Mike Scosia wasn’t getting enough credit for “doing a good job.”
Los Angeles—You can see in the boxscore that the Dodgers committed four errors, but as I said, the boxscore doesn’t tell the story very well. As I was reconstructing my card, I was hit much more forcefully by the memory of just how frustrating the evening felt, like the team we’d come 800 miles to see was beating itself rather than losing to a better opponent. I brought an old and too small Dodgers cap that I’ve had since I was 8, and bought a brand new one outside the gate. I decided to leave the old one someplace conspicuous with the hope that some child would pick it up and get as much (if not more) joy from it than I did. And I have no idea why I remember this—after listening to as much of the postgame show as we could stand, we switched to a music station. The piece they were playing was Beethoven’s Chorale Fantasy. I don’t even remember what I was listening to on the radio two hours ago!