Computerized scorekeeping a plus for players and fans alike
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
It used to be that sports scorekeeping was a simple matter.
A scorekeeper used pen and paper to follow the game in a book, then transferred the team and players stats onto stat sheets, which were updated after every game. It was tedious, but not too complicated.
These days however, as with everything else, scorekeeping has become computerized and the Pecos League is no exception. League commissioner Andrew Dunn chose Pointstreak Sports Technologies (http://www.pointstreak.com/) — a company that scores eight sports from high school through the pros — as the system to use for the Pecos League. And while there have been growing pains, Pointstreak has pluses for everyone from the scorekeepers to the players to the fans.
Roswell Invader statistician Geoff Gunn said getting a package deal for the entire league made sense.
That way we’re all on the same system,” he said. “If every team is using same stats system, it make it a lot easier to effect changes; to get everybody on the same page to get the stats correct across the board.”
And while there are dozens of stat programs that can do that, Gunn said Pointstreak has a big plus over most of those programs.
“What puts Pointstreak ahead of a lot of them is it has a built-in Web site that goes along with that and does the Webcasting,” he said.
What that means is a fan who wants to follow his favorite team or a scout who wants to watch a player in near-real time can do so in the comfort of their home or clubhouse.
“Even if they’re not there at the ballgame, they can pull it up from their Android phone or their Iphone or their computer at home and watch the ballgame, essentially,” Gunn said. “If one of the Invader players gets a single up the middle, that’s going to show in 15 seconds time if someone is watching the game live. I think that’s a big plus for the Pointstreak.”
Gunn called the Pointstreak system “one of the nicest interfaces I’ve seen for the Webcasting programs,” with complete play by play, showing ball, strikes, errors, base running and player stats in an easily read format.
Another thing Pointstreak does well is display both team and player stats.
“If you are a statophile, like I am, you can get pretty much everything you want to from those Web pages,” Gunn said. “You can look at head-to-head competition from the Trinidad Triggers and the Roswell Invaders. You can see how the previous series went on between those two. You can see who has the highest batting average in Trinidad Trigger history. They’re really kind of nifty, because baseball has always been stat driven.”
While checking out stats is fun for fans, those stats also help players when they need to send stats on to scouts from a higher league.
“It certainly does,” Gunn said. “If you’ve got good looking stats, that’s more than just the icing on the cake. That’s a little bit of the batter and the mix as well.”
With the detailed stats available on the Pointstreak system — hitting vs. a left handed pitcher, bunting, scoring runners, etc. — a player can also send those stats right to whoever they need.
“It’s all about that immediate access,” Gunn said. “You don’t have to go up to the stat keeper and ask, ‘Can you compile my stats for the season or for my career here, and then mail off a copy to the Chicago Cubs scout’ or whatever. You can send him a link. Say, ‘Hey! I’m playing for the Roswell Invaders. Check out our pages on Pointstreak and you can follow me game by game.’”
Of course, the same holds true for managers and coaches, who, in the Pecos League, are also looking to move up. But for any of that to happen, the stats have to be done correctly across the league, and that, Gunn said, has been a problem as the league grows.
“That’s one of the most important things,” he said. “Good scorekeepers are hard to find. I don’t care if you’re talking about old pen and paper type stuff or using a modern day program or even reporters with their shorthand and pads. You’ve got to be able to record every single out. Every single error. Every single putout. Every single assist. Everything that occurs in that game, in theory, you should be able to go back and see exactly what happened, how it happened, how it occurred. And that’s the downfall of a lot of the stat programs. They make things too complicated. People get too confused and don’t know what they’re doing.”
He said Pointstreak made things right with the way they did their system, making the computer program look like an old pen and paper book. But even there, there can be glitches.
“The problem is, if you talk to eight different scorekeepers, they’re going to keep a book nine different ways. And that’s where we get in trouble with the Pointstreak. If we can teach our scorekeepers how to move runners around on base hits, on errors, on double plays, on bunts. All the ways there are to move runners. On throwing errors. On balks. There’s so many ways to move runners around on base in baseball, and that’s what makes it a little difficult.”
Gunn, who’s scored the Invaders for their first two years, said that problem can be solved with training. The other big problem, he said, is a lack of consistency with rosters. A player’s name may be spelled one way at home and a different way at one road game and a third way at another. Each of those changes creates a different player and scorekeepers have to manually combine those names to give a player his correct stats.
“That’s the biggest problem we were having last season, is all those different permutations or coaches changes jerseys on us,” he said. “I understand that people move around. I understand things change and rosters change, but they’ve got to try and be a little more consistent about jersey numbers and how names are spelled. And if we can get everybody into the data base initially. If all the teams can come up and say this is official and we can create official rosters for every single team, then we can eliminate 90 percent of that problem.”
Gunn said managers can help by working closely with their scorekeepers before the season starts to create a league-wide roster, so all the individual scorekeepers have to do is pull the names in off a database when a visiting team pulls into town. This is another reason all teams in the league will have one set of jerseys as well. Most problems occured with teams with multiple jerseys. Pointstreak's main weakness it is uses jersey number as primary key. When a player changes jerseys or has different jersey numbers all sorts of problems will occur. The pointstreak interface pulls jersey numbers from team player database regardless of what you enter in the interface and thus players would get credited for someone else's stats.
“Make sure that the names are spelled correctly. That the jersey numbers are correct. Those kind of things. That will help the kids and help us,” Gunn said.
For more information visit Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs LLC. http://www.PecosLeague.com 575-680-2212