Whenever you go to a baseball game, you will inevitably see a giant scoreboard in the outfield that contains an endless supply of information. There are lots of numbers, letters, and statistics, and each of those items has its own unique meaning. With all this information being thrown your way, how do you read a baseball scoreboard?
baseball scoreboards are read from left to right, with team names listed on the far left. numbers one through nine indicate each inning, and the numbers below show how many runs were scored in each inning. r, h, and e show how many runs, hits, and misses occurred throughout the game.
Reading: How to read baseball scoreboard
Although most baseball scores contain the same basic information, not all scores are created equal. so let’s dive into more detail about the common sections found in baseball scoreboards, as well as some uncommon sections.
four sections common to all baseball scoreboards
As you’ll see from some examples in this article, not all baseball scoreboards look the same. In addition to not looking the same, they also don’t contain the exact same information, but there are four common sections found on almost every single baseball scoreboard.
names of each team
One of the first things you’ll notice on a scoreboard is the name of the teams that are playing. these names are listed towards the left side of the scoreboard, with the away team at the top and the home team at the bottom.
the reason the home team always appears below the away team is that the home team always bats last. so when we look at the next section of the scoreboard, which is the innings , we will be able to understand when a game is at the top of an inning or at the bottom of an inning.
also, depending on the type of scoreboard used and the type of league you play in, the team names will be “away” and “home”, the actual names of each team, or (for some league scoreboards) major league) just use the team logo.
number of runs scored per inning
The long section of numbers directly to the right of each team name is the number of runs scored per inning. Depending on which league you’re in, baseball games will be anywhere from three to nine innings long, so this section of the scoreboard is typically the longest in length.
To read this section of the scoreboard, you must first look at the sequential numbers at the top, which typically range from 1 to 9. Each of these numbers represents an individual entry in a game.
Directly below each entry, there are also numbers: a number listed for the away team and a number listed for the home team. each of these numbers indicates how many runs a team scored during that half inning.
If you take the photo above as an example, you’ll notice a “3” listed for the home team below the number “8”. this means that the home team scored three runs in the eighth inning.
In addition to showing how many runs were scored per half inning, this section can also show viewers which inning the game is currently in. if a half inning has not started yet, then this is the section is completely blank in the bookmark.
so, if we take the above photo again as an example, we can see that there is a blank space for the home team below the “9” column. this means the bottom of the ninth inning hasn’t started yet.
In fact, this marker informs the spectators that the game is over. because the home team is up after the top half of the ninth inning, they don’t get another at bat. therefore, fans looking at this scoreboard can conclude that the home team won the game 4-0.
executions, hits and misses
On the right, at the number of runs scored per inning, we see three additional columns labeled r, h, and e. what do these letters on a baseball scoreboard mean?
On a baseball scoreboard, r represents runs and calculates how many total runs each team has scored during the game. as the game progresses and more runs are scored, this number will also increase to reflect the total number of runs scored.
on that same marker, h represents hits and calculates all hits received by all team members for the duration of the game. this number includes all singles, doubles, triples, and home runs.
The e on a baseball scoreboard stands for errors and is the number of errors awarded to the defense over the duration of the game. this number calculates all defensive errors per team and gives viewers a general idea of how well a team is doing defensively.
balls, strikes and outs
Another very common section of any baseball scoreboard is a place to display the number of balls, strikes and outs for each half inning. this section will be directly above or below the section that shows the total number of runs scored per inning.
Balls and strikes are updated during each pitch of an at-bat and will let viewers know what the batter’s current count is.
The number of outs will be updated after each offensive player retires and will let viewers know how many outs have been earned so far in this half inning.
other common stats on a baseball scoreboard
Number of the Pitcher
some baseball markers will have a section labeled “p”. what does the p stand for in a baseball scoreboard?
On a baseball scoreboard, “p” usually stands for “pitcher” and the number displayed will be the pitcher’s jersey number. this number is simply to let fans know what number he is currently throwing for each team.
Many baseball scoreboards have a section dedicated to displaying the current batter’s jersey number. this section is usually titled something like “at bat” and its purpose is to let fans know who is ready to bat.
In addition to the other items discussed in this article, most major league baseball scores will also include batting statistics for each player.
Usually you will see a batting order showing each person’s batting average for the current season. when that player approaches bat, the scoreboard will highlight that player and display additional batting stats on what that player has accomplished today.
These additional stats typically include things like RBIs, stolen bases, how many hits they had today, and what type of hits they were (single, double, triple, home run).
additional lights when the play results in a hit or miss
Sometimes during the course of a game it can be difficult to tell if a hard hit ball is a base hit or if it was an error. routine plays that are manipulated by the defense are obviously mistakes, but what about those non-routine, forceful plays where the player didn’t field cleanly?
To help fans understand what the on-field rule is, some markers will have an additional “h” and “e”, but there will be circular lights below these letters. these letters also indicate “hit” and “mistake”, but are used to let all fans and players know if the decision on the field is a hit or an error.
left at base (globe)
some major league teams added an additional acronym to the marker directly to the right of the r, h, and e. this acronym is lob and stands for left over base.
In baseball scoreboards, the left on base (lob) stat calculates the total number of runners left on base at the end of each inning. this number is a grand total of all racers that were stranded for the duration of the game.
remaining visits to mound (mvr)
Starting in the 2018 season, some major league scoreboards added a stat to the scoreboard that simply displays “mvr” to the right of r, h, and e. but what is mvr in baseball?
mvr, or mound visits remaining, is the total number of times a teammate, coach or manager can visit the pitcher on the mound without a pitcher change. As of 2019, each team gets five visits to the mound per game, which is designed to help speed up the pace of play.
On a baseball scoreboard, the remaining mound visit stat will start at 0 and increase by one for each mound visit. if a game is played over extra innings, each team is awarded one additional visit to the mound for each additional inning played.
what if you skip mound hits in mlb?
under official mlb rules, the penalty for a manager exceeding allotted mound visits results in that manager needing to make a pitching change. the penalty for a position player exceeding the allotted number of mound visits results in that player’s possible ejection.