It's safe to say at this point that this year's Nationals are pretty good at baseball. They've been a thrill to watch, especially the last couple of weeks. Close games turned nail-biters turned walk-off wins - that's a few of the ways the 2014 Nats will be remembered. And the good news is there's several ways to commemorate a good season of well-played baseball. Today, I'll share one of my favorite ways to commemorate a season with you - keeping score.
I didn't actively keep score on a sheet or in a book until I started covering the Nats in 2010. Before then, I'd go to 10-20 major league games a season, whether it was back in my hometown of Chicago or in D.C. I played softball on my schools' team from sixth grade through the end of high school, but never kept score. I knew how, but was never forced to keep the book. Looking back on it now, I feel like I might have gotten more out of the experience if I had kept score, but I don't regret playing the game itself. It was fun. But now that I'm on the other side of things, covering a team that's playing the game instead of playing it myself, I find that keeping score is the best way to feel involved in a game.
In order to keep track of what's actually going on, you have to keep your attention on the action on the field. There's no way around it unless you happen to be one of those people who calls up MLB Gameday on your smart phone in between plays when you were distracted - we've all been there, myself included. Everybody keeps their scoresheet a little differently than the person next to them. That to me is one of the coolest parts of keeping score. It's something that's taught and then passed on to the next unsuspecting individual who will likely never be able to attend a ballgame again in their life without the urge to keep score - if not on paper, then in their heads.
Keeping score enriches the experience of going to a live ballgame. It's also a fun way to start a conversation with your ballpark seat neighbor, bond with your family or friends and track one of the finest ballclubs in the major leagues right now. As the season winds down and thoughts of the playoffs ramp up, go on and grab a pencil and a scorecard. Keep an eye on the action. Things just might get interesting. And if they do, you'll have it all written down. Pretty good souvenir, right?
Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC. Follow her on Twitter: @RHLevitin. She will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.