Obsolescence Week: save the box score—and the line score | Bleader

Obsolescence Week: save the box score—and the line score


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Henry Chadwick, inventor of the modern baseball box score.
The old-fashioned sports game lead is an endangered species at newspapers, because it's said people just don't read game recaps online. They're much more interested in trade talks, locker-room gossip, and other forms of "insider" information.

Thank goodness for the box score, although even that is struggling with dwindling space in print these days.

As an unrepentant rotisserie league fantasy baseball owner, I look forward to those first line scores of the spring exhibitions, which give an indication—however vague—of how pitchers seem to have fared in their latest outings. (Also, who hit home runs, really the only noteworthy thing about spring hitting statistics.) Unfortunately, the Tribune seems to have dropped exhibition line scores entirely, although at least it ran Sunday's Cubs box score today, revealing that Jeff Beliveau struggled with three walks and four runs allowed without retiring a batter. That's one sure way to stamp your ticket to the minor-league camp. (That's in print, however; online I couldn't find a box, just this brief recap.) Somewhere, Henry Chadwick is spinning in his grace.

Yet it's not just baseball coverage that benefits from the box score. Having missed the Bulls' 96-91 win in Philadelphia Sunday, I was wondering how they pulled it off. Yes, the Sun-Times game lead informed me, Derrick Rose hit a key running jumper down the stretch in finishing with a season-high 35 points, but what else? A quick look at the box showed that the Bulls were outrebounded, outassissted (a rarity this season), and, while making one more field goal, made three fewer free throws. How did they manage to win? They made seven of 16 three-pointers, with Rose four for seven, while the 76ers made only one of 11 behind the stripe.

Thank you box score for the untold story.

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