capsule review

Better baseball stats

As I write this, the New York Yankees and the Orange County Angels of Los Angeles (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) are an inning into the decisive Game Five of their American League divisional series. The winner of that game joins the Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, and Houston Astros as the remaining teams in the hunt for the World Series, with a world champion crowned sometime around the last weekend in October. Which is a round-about way of saying that today feels like a good day for a baseball-themed Mac Gem, if only to justify the inordinate amount of time I’ll spend over the next few weeks sneaking furtive glances at the Scoreboard widget in Dashboard when I should be working. And with the exception of the hot dog and the $5 stadium beer, few things are more inextricably linked with baseball than statistics. ERAs, RBIs, OBPs—these are the numbers that help baseball fans see how a game unfolds and document which players are at the top of the heap.

Up until now, if you wanted to tally baseball stats on your Mac, your options pretty much began and ended with Microsoft Excel. That’s what I use to keep stats for the dice baseball league I play in. (I don’t recall sneering at your hobbies, incidentally). And while the spreadsheet program works for me, I can see how folks wanting to keep track of numbers for their rec-league softball team or their kid’s Little League squad might not want to sit down and program in the formulas for batting average, slugging percentage, and whatever other statistical categories they’re hoping to chart.

Pachyderm Software’s $12 Baseball Statbook 1.1.2 (   ) takes care off all those statistical formulas for you, freeing you up to get down to the business of punching in at-bats, hits, and runs batted in. Easy to set up and a snap to use, Baseball Statbook is the ideal for Little League parents and softball skippers who want to keep a clear statistical record instead of futzing around with formulas or trying to remember how you calculate earned run average (earned runs multiplied by nine, then divided by innings pitched, just in case you were curious).

Here’s how Baseball Statbook works: enter your team name and then start filling out your roster by hitting Command-Y (or a handy plus button) to enter player names. Once your roster is complete, click the Game Stats input tab, and enter in the stats for each game your team has played. There's a certain degree of customization available here, with 19 batting/fielding and 11 pitching categories that you can select or de-select with the click of a checkbox.

Baseball Statbook

It’s the Statistics & Reports panel where Baseball Statbook really shines. Using the game data you’ve entered, the program can generate reports for batting and pitching stats, individual players, and game results; again, you’re able to customize which stats appear on the report, which are generated instantly. You can print the subsequent results, save them as a text file, or even have Baseball Statbook whip you up a Web report, so you can let the entire world know that you lead your beer league softball team in round-trippers.

Baseball Statbook has a few interface peculiarities I’m still adapting to. For instance, when entering game stats, I’m used to leading off with the tradition order of at-bats/runs/hits/RBIs you’ll find in most box scores. Baseball Statbook uses a slightly different order—plate appearances/singles/doubles/triples/home runs/runs/RBIs—which takes some getting used to. A recent update to the program allows you to shift around the order of these categories to your liking. That’s a welcome customization addition that Baseball Statbook could use more of—for example, the team roster page has categories for age, height, and weight that the average Little League scorekeeper might find less than useful. Being able to create your own categories—contact information, say, so you can make sure Little Johnny knows that the start time for Saturday’s game against your hated rivals—would be a better use of that page. It’s also worth noting that the program uses plate appearances rather than at-bats, and not knowing the difference between the two categories is going to skew calculations for on-base percentage.

But these are minor-league gripes. Baseball Statbook has more than enough features for you to send old scorekeeping standbys like Excel or—gasp!—even pen and paper to the showers. It’s a nifty application that will please anyone who gets as much a thrill out of tabulating batting averages as they do watching a stand-up triple.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon