When Does It Count?

I “count” a baseball park in my all-time total of parks attended when I “count” a game attended there. So what are my criteria for counting a game?

  1. It has to be a game in a championship professional season. That means the game has to be played in a league recognized as professional (major, minor, independent, or offseason pro) and count toward either the league standings or the playoffs. So spring training games don’t count; nor would the All-Star Game.
  2. It has to be a regulation game (five innings; 4½ if the home team leads; during the bottom of the fifth if the home team scores either to break a tie or force one). If I show up for the game and it gets called for rain after an inning or two, it doesn’t count – even if the Optional Suspended Rule applies. (Exception: If the game is suspended before it becomes a regulation game, and I return for its completion, it counts.) I never counted Miles Field in Medford, Ore., because the only time I showed up there, in 1997, they had a thunderstorm after the second inning, and when the game was resumed the next day, I was at the Kingdome in Seattle.
  3. I have to show up for the start of the game, or, if I’m late, I have to be able to catch up to my scorecard. My usual rule on this is that if I get there after about the middle of the third inning, it won’t count. But I have made exceptions if I was able to score the game off the radio as I approached the park. The most extreme case was in Rome, Ga., in 2003, when I drove around in circles for four innings looking for the park – but scored the whole thing off the radio. I finally got there as the fifth inning was starting, and I counted it.
  4. I have to stay to the end of the game – or to the end of play for the day. If a regulation game is suspended and I am unable to return for the completion, I count the game so long as I saw the end of the action prior to the suspension. When these happen, I mark the score in my all-time log as it stood at the time of suspension. Instances occur in 2002 (NJ Cardinals leading Brooklyn, 4-0, in the 6th when it was called for fog; the Cards eventually won 6-1) and 2006 (Lakewood and Hagerstown tied after 17 innings when it was called for curfew; the BlueClaws eventually won 8-7 in 22 innings). NOTE: There is an exception to every rule. I counted my first visit to Yankee Stadium 2009, on its opening day, despite leaving in the top of the ninth inning of a 10-2 game in order to honor my commitment to the Rutherford, N.J., Little League.
Of course, if I get to a park and photograph it, but I wind up not counting it as a park attended because I couldn’t count the game, I’ll still include the park on the Web site. It just won’t be included in the all-time count (381 parks, 1450 games as of the end of 2015).
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This page updated 29-Jan-2016