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Next time you head to the big league ballpark of your choice, look around and you'll find a few folks keeping track of the game's progress in their program or with a scorebook in their lap. Up in the official scorer's booth, the same thing is happening. It looks like a strange version of shorthand, but it's not that complicated.

Each scorebook is divided into two sections. One side lists the visitor's lineup. The other has the home team. The players are listed in the order they bat. To the right will be spaces for you to keep track of what each batter does in each inning.

First, remember that each player on defense is assigned a number (1-9) for scoring purposes. The pitcher is #1, the catcher #2; first baseman #3; 2nd baseman #4; third baseman #5; shortstop #6; leftfielder #7, centerfielder #8 and rightfielder #9.

Let's say the first batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop who throws him out at first base. The scoring of this play would be written in your book in the first inning, next to the batter's name as "6-3"; that is a grounder to short who threw to the first baseman for the out. You'll probably also want to write a "1" with a circle around it to indicate the first out.

The second batter strikes out. This is indicated by a "K" for strikeout (walks are noted with a "w" or "bb" for base on balls).

Now let's say the next batter hit a fly ball to center that was dropped, allowing him to reach base. You'd score that E-8 for "error on the centerfielder".

Each space in the scorecard next to a batter's name carries an outline of a baseball diamond. When batters reach base, you can jot down 1B for a single; 2B for a double, etc. just outside the diamond. As a batter reaches base, you draw a line in the book to indicate so. As he navigates his way around the diamond, you'll note his progress in the scorebook. When he reaches home, you'll fill in the "diamond" to indicate a run scored.

At the bottom of the page are spaces to write the hit and run total for each inning. That way you can tell, at any point in the game, how many runs and hits each team has.