Red-hot Reds will give way to red-hot phones

April 11, 2004|by MARK KELLER

Unlike my colleague, Andy Mason, I am putting major stock in the first week of the Major League Baseball season.

Heck, I have to. The Cincinnati Reds are off to their best start in 10 years. It's not often they win four games in a row either, like they've done since losing to the Chicago Cubs on opening day.

I am realistic, though. In a division with the Cubs, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds' stay in first place is sure to be short-lived.

I'm just trying to make the most of it while I can.

It's that time of year again, when the youngsters take to the ball diamond and our phones begin ringing off the hooks every evening.


I'm talking youth baseball/softball season, of course. The Washington County Girls Softball League opened their year Saturday; area little leagues get started next Saturday.

We devote a large amount of space each season to the youth leagues and it proves to be some of the most-read copy in our section throughout the year.

Since there is a large number of new coaches every year and an always-growing group of leagues and/or divisions, I like to take one of these spaces every spring to review some of the guidelines and suggestions for reporting results accurately and on time.

  • Report your result the day the game is played. It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of folks who call us Wednesday night with a score from Monday night.

    It's hardly news when the game capsule runs three days after the game is played. So please get the result to us the night of the game.

  • Report your result by whatever means necessary. OK, that doesn't mean take the pay phone from the kid calling for a ride home, but there are several methods you can use to report your scores to us.

    You can call us at 301-733-5131, or you can use our dime by calling toll-free at 1-800-626-6397.

    You can e-mail results to us at, or you can fax them to 301-714-0245.

    Whichever of these methods is easiest for you will work for us.

  • Have your information ready to go before you dial the phone. The call will take much longer for us and for you if you're leafing through the scorebook trying to get stats together while calling in the game.

    Take an extra minute, jot a couple of notes on a piece of paper, have all your stats ready and then call us. You'd be amazed how quickly we can have you off the phone and on your way to Dairy Queen with the team.

  • Be prepared to spell names for us. We can guess at how names are spelled, but that doesn't make parents happy when their child's name is misspelled.

    There are at least 10 different ways to spell Christina and 16 variations on Antoine. Please help us make sure we get it spelled correctly.

  • Report only the major stats in the game. While it's big news to Mom and Dad and Grandma when little Johnny gets his first hit of the season, it probably doesn't mean much in the course of a game.

    We're looking for home runs and multiple hits. We're looking for pitchers with high strikeout numbers or a low number of hits allowed.

    And no, three pitchers cannot "combine for a win." Only one pitcher can be the winner.

  • Report your results before the nightly deadline. We accept results Monday-Friday until 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday until 10. We have to hold to these deadlines because of the time it takes to compile and edit these results into a single roundup.

By following these guidelines, reporting scores will be quick and easy - both for you and for us.

Have fun this season, and we'll be talking to you soon.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at

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