Scrabble and Baseball

Tomorrow morning, roughly 300 wordy people from at least 41 states and several countries will begin play in the 2012 National Scrabble Championship down in Orlando, Florida.  It will take 31 games over five days to determine the winner of the $10,000 top prize.

To celebrate this, the VORG is providing you with rules on how to play “Baseball Scrabble”

  • In addition to all the standard acceptable Scrabble words, last names of all MLB players, both active and retired, are acceptable. (You may choose to set a minimum word length of three or four letters, lest you want to overinflate the value of a “Ni”).
  • When placing a player’s last name on the board, you must state the player’s first name. (If you played “CANO,” you say “Robinson” to complete your turn.)
  • Your play can be challenged, either on the basis of the spelling of the player’s name or the first name given. You should choose a “dictionary” for “word judging” of these, like “Baseball Reference.”
  • Optional rule: You may or may not want to allow plurals of a player’s name to be played as the “original word”.  That is, if you have “MURCERS” on your rack, you may or may not allow (Bobby) MURCERS to be played in one turn.  Also, you may or may not allow hooking an “S” on an existing word that happens to be a player’s name.  That is, if “MURCER” was on the board already, you may or may not allow someone to hook an “S” on it when they are playing a word.
  • Optional rule: If you play a player’s name, your opponent owes you $0.50. If the player’s name is also an acceptable Scrabble word (like “BENCH”), you could add some sort of point bonus, or your opponent owes you $1.00

Let’s try this out. Here is an opening rack in a regular Scrabble game.

You don’t have many great choices. Maybe VOW or TOW? Well, if you are playing “Baseball Scrabble,” you have a very nice opening play.

“VOTTO” cleans up that rack and scores 24 points. Let’s see what our opponent can do. He has “CALZONE” on his rack, but it’s not playable. Thankfully, we’re playing “Baseball Scrabble,” which gives us another opportunity. Hint: former Milwaukee Brewer outfielder.

Then we come to this rack, where we can play a seven-letter word that is not only good in “Baseball Scrabble”, but “regular Scrabble” too, and takes advantage of those optional rules I mentioned above:













Hint: Former relief pitcher, famous for his mustache.














So, the next time your game of choice is in a rain delay, break out your Scrabble board and play some “Baseball Scrabble”.

(Parts of this post were previously published in an article I wrote for Baseball Prospectus.)

3 thoughts on “Scrabble and Baseball

    • Thanks! Quackle produces html reports with the board images. Also, I “print-screened” the final board and cropped the image.

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