A Defense of the Humble Box Score

Posted on 04/02/2018 in misc

Box scores

With the start of MLB season comes the annual challenge of keeping up with all the important baseball news. Back in the olden days you would open up your local newspaper to the sports section. If you lived in a baseball town you got in-depth coverage of the hometown team, plus summaries of all the other games, and box scores. If you didn't live in a baseball town you still got wire service summaries of every game, plus box scores.

Then the Internet happened and we all abandoned the local paper for online updates that eventually included multiple videos and real time updates to our phones anytime something significant happened. I'm pretty sure I've written that the sports section in the local paper is an artifact of the past.

I was wrong.

Even with great broadband, trying to navigate ESPN.com or MLB.com or whatever is mostly an exercise in frustration. Between slow loading ads and videos, and an UI designed to maximize ad revenue, not readability, just keeping up with your favorite team is a real chore, let alone the rest of the league. Over the past few years I had mostly given up, relying on the daily video of the Red Sox game from MLB.com and mostly ignoring all the other news.

I've been trying to rely on my local paper more for news, so why not sports too? Over the last couple of days I've been ignoring the online sources, and depending on the e-edition of the paper at Richmond.com for my baseball news. The early returns are encouraging. The traditional short paragraph summaries are a great way to catch up the previous days action, and then there are the box scores.

When I was a kid I poured over the box scores every day. I'm old, so this was back in the days of TV consisting of whatever channels your rabbit ears antenna could pick up. The paper and the box score were the only way a baseball fan could keep up on a day-to-day basis. Obviously, we have countless options for keeping up today, but the humble box score holds its own. It's low bandwidth, doesn't require javascript, doesn't care about your ad blocker, and does provide the key details about a game.

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