Thunder Bay man heading to Florida as Women's Baseball World Cup scorekeeper
Jason Buitenhuis will be behind-the-scenes at upcoming tournament
It's a good thing Thunder Bay's Jason Buitenhuis is a self-described "numbers guy."
Buitenhuis will be heading down to Viera, Florida, later this month, where the lifelong baseball fan and player will be a scorekeeper at the upcoming Women's Baseball World Cup.
"I'll be in the capacity as official scorer in training," said Buitenhuis, who's a senior manager at Thunder Bay accounting firm MNP. "It's my first out-of-town trip."
It isn't, however, the first time Buitenhuis has been a scorekeeper at a high-level baseball game. He's done it twice before, at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship and 2017's Under-18 World Baseball World Cup. Both of those tournaments were played in Thunder Bay.
"When the 2010 worlds came to Thunder Bay, one of the big parts of those tournaments is securing a lot of volunteers," he said. "The WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) brings down scorers from different countries, and umpires from different countries."
"Then they supplement with local people, who are volunteering," he said. "In 2010, I was one of the volunteers, and scoring was something I was interested in, so they brought me in for that."
Three scorers per game
His experience at those tournaments led to Buitenhuis being invited to the 2018 Women's Baseball World Cup as a scorer, he said.
Buitenhuis said there'll be three scorers at each world cup game. Two of them work on paper scoresheets, while the third will be feeding numbers directly to the scoreboard.
Essentially, he said, scorers keep track of things like balls and strikes. But they're also responsible for calling hits and errors.
"The key is, on any given play — ground ball, fly ball, pop-up, whatever it is — is it a routine play?" he said. "Can the player make it without going to an extraordinary effort?"
If they can, and don't make the play, the player is charged with an error, Buitenhuis explained.
"If he or she has to go to an extraordinary effort to make the play, that's where it may be a little bit grey," he said. "You can call a hit or error on the play."
As for the this year's tournament itself, which runs Aug. 22-31, Buitenhuis isn't sure what to expect, other than some top-level baseball.
"I'm really looking forward to see the calibre of players," he said. "There is some great talent in the women's game."
"I am very excited to see what these teams have to offer."