MLB: Official Scorer

Where does the official scorer sit? Is s/he in a skybox behind home plate? Does it vary ballpark to ballpark?

It probably varies ballpark to ballpark, but at Busch Stadium they sit in the media box next to the stadium announcer.

He sits in the same place as in minor beague laseball.

Just a few follow-up questions:
Why do you think baseball has an official scorer? Couldn’t the umps be miked, like the refs in football, to explain the call (such as an error vs. a hit)? And, has there ever been a situation where the official scorer is in conflict with the umps? Last, can’t the official scorer be biased for the home team?

The official scorer doesn’t make calls like fair or foul or ball or strike and they don’t explain anything. That’s the job of the umpires. The scorer determines how the play is scored, like whether a ball is a hit or an error.

To your last question - yes, they can be biased. It has no effect on the result (as said, they don’t make rulings that can change outcomes) but can show up in statistics.

In particular, official scorers tend to give more hits to the home team (rather than errors) to help their averages. They also seem (IME) to give more errors to the home team’s defense (rather than hits against) to help the home pitchers. Obviously this will vary from scorer to scorer.

Right, I think it’s just sort of taken for granted that the scorer is going to do stuff like this.

Every sport has statisticians who must decide how to record borderline plays. For example, the football stat guy has to decide whether a QB scramble is a rush or tackled attempting to pass (not always obvious on bootlegs or QB draws). The basketball stat guy has to decide whether a strip as the shooter goes up is a steal or a blocked shot plus a rebound. It’s just that because baseball is so slow a single guy can keep all the stats and make all the rulings and be called the “official scorer”.

And, at times, the correction happens after the fact. IIRC, last week, the Elias Sports Bureau, after reviewing film of that week’s Steelers game (a couple of days after the fact), changed a run (via a lateral) into a pass, as they decided it was a forward pass. As the play went for a touchdown, it had a not-insubstantial impact on fantasy football leagues. :slight_smile:

In baseball these scoring calls can be changed after the fact too, and even overruled by MLB. It just doesn’t happen very often. They can’t change on-field results like an umpire’s call of fair/foul or safe/out, like the infamous blown call that resulted in pitcher Armando Galarraga not getting credited with a perfect game, but it can have significant fantasy baseball impact when a hit is changed to an error or vice versa, since runs scored after 2 outs when an error has occured are not “charged” to the pitcher any more.

I can’t recall specifics offhand but I know there have been cases like when a pitcher has the bases loaded with 2 outs, the catcher drops an easy popup foul ball and then the batters start hitting and hitting… None of those runs count against the pitcher any more because they’re all “unearned” runs once the inning “should have” ended before they scored (even if there are home runs in the mix). More common than dropped pop-ups is when an infield hit is changed to a fielding error on the part of the shortstop or something (or vice versa), including earlier in the inning (with 0 or 1 outs). I’ve definitely seen as many as 8 ERs get erased from a pitcher’s stat line for a game with one retroactive scoring change of hit to error.