By Rich Mancuso/ theny extra.com
Pitching line for Jacob deGrom…
The words of official scorer Howie Karpin up in the press box. Tomorrow afternoon, though, he won’t be situated in the press box as the Mets open this 60-game season against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.
Karpin, the senior official scorer in New York, will be situated in his makeshift press box at home in the northwest section of the Bronx. Due to the safety and medical protocols established by MLB the job has to be done from home.
This is not a normal baseball season due to COVID-19. Baseball, though, has returned after all the back-and-forth obstacles with players and owners. There are 35 of those limited spots in the press box for media that will get access to the ballparks.
The official scorer, a vital part of the game, was asked to stay home.
It may not be the best way to score a game. Karpin won’t have a view of the green grass and a close up view of plays on the field that are determined to be a hit or error.
Social distancing and wearing face masks in the press box. Talking to managers and players via Zoom is the new norm also for media in their new roles.
Howie Karpin, as he has done 21 years prior, and at this juncture of the global pandemic, is prepared and ready to score the ballgames from home.
“Ready for it,” he said. “Because we have a lot of scorers of the age group, I’m 66, a lot of guys are over 60. I’m at the age group. That came under consideration. They (MLB) set it up well. I was curious how it will go.”
And a lot of games on the schedule in 66 days.
Assume there is not another disruption, because of an increasing risk of COVID, this will be a hectic time for baseball. Karpin, always prepared, has his notes and scorecards ready.
There will be a lot of baseball being watched at home. There won’t be room for distractions. Those fortunate to have a seat in the press box won’t hear Karpin’s voice as he reads the final pitching line. They won’t hear the time of the game.
They won’t hear the final lines of runs ,hits, errors, names of the winning and losing pitcher.
“We don’t have to send the pitching line only when there is an unearned run,” Karpin says.
Slack, an advanced chat room will enable the scorer to be in touch with everyone. That also comes with delaying a call on determining a hit or error and numbers that are so important for the players.
But this is not the same as scoring a game from the ballpark. Karpin has been preparing for the change and did some in home practice watching some of the Summer Camp exhibition games from home.
Ballplayers and personnel are adapting to the change. This veteran scorer and employed by MLB is also adapting to the change.
So, tomorrow, Howie Karpin is ready for the sprint of a season that has always been a marathon.
“It’s just keeping the focus, knowing you are actually working a game from the house,” Karpin said. “ Doing my notes made it more comfortable. Made out the same type of notes.”
He said, “The one thing is, we don’t have to fill out the box score, only check the box that will come up on our computers. We have a way of seeing a real time feed by the computer, one of the tools we use for scoring these games.”
MLB has set the system for a scorer to see the game in real time and that will eliminate the probability of delaying a call.
Other than that, it will be baseball as usual and scoring from home with a few new rules that include a runner situated at second base with the start of extra innings.
Karpin has been prepped about the unusual rules that are coming with this 2020 season of the unexpected. He, and two other colleagues will score 20 Mets and Yankees games.
If either team makes it to the postseason there will be more. But for now, Karpin is excited to get the truncated season going because baseball and the ballpark have been a good combination over the years.
So that final line on Jacob deGrom and more will come from Howie Karpin from the comforts of his home
And he put it all in perspective, “It’s nice to see baseball. It’s better than nothing.”
Comment: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso