The Wrong Kind of Rally

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Baseball scorekeeping allows fans and analysts to record a game’s details as it progresses, using a detailed system of shorthand. Of particular note for the uninitiated, strikeouts are represented with the letter “K”. A tally of strikeouts is often shown at a ballpark, either on a special scoreboard or via handmade signs from groups of fans like the Boston K-Men.

A Strikeout Sign
A (Swinging) Strikeout Sign1

On Wednesday, July 2nd, the Angels were in Chicago to face off against the White Sox. The game began with White Sox pitcher John Danks striking out Angels Collin Cowgill, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols in order, all swinging. Something like this may thus have been on display somewhere in the ballpark.

A Strikeout Sign
This is awkward.

Throughout the course of a nearly 2500-game baseball season, this will happen at least a few times. It’s not a big deal, as another strikeout generally occurs soon enough. However, a crucial error in judgement by the White Sox organization made this situation a bit stickier. Somewhere along the line, someone approved a white hooded rain poncho for the team. That may not seem problematic, until you see a cluster of fans behind home plate all decked out in them.

White Ponchos in Action
Hoo boy.
[Image credit: Paul Lukas]

Fortunately for Chicago, the game record shows that Danks had recorded a fourth strikeout in the top of the third inning and another in the top of the fourth, just before the rains came. So though it may have looked like a Ku Klux Klan rally, at least they no longer had the sign to match.


Footnotes:

  1. One of my favorite bits of baseball minutia is that a backwards K is used to denote that the batter struck out without swinging, or “looking”.

    A Strikeout Sign
    A Strikeout Looking

    The same sign can be used, of course, it’s simply flipped. ↩︎


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