Fans flock to Threshers games. They and a cold beverage. During a play, fans think they see a hit only to notice the scoreboard flashes an error instead.
Who makes these decisions?
Larry Wiederecht, that's who.
A man who attends every Threshers game is largely unrecognized and known only by a select few. Yet he may be the most important person at Bright House Field, short of the players and manager.
Wiederecht is the official scorekeeper of the Clearwater Threshers. He determines what's a hit, what's an error, if it's a wild pitch or if the catcher allowed a passed ball, among many other decisions.
Wiederecht was doing this with the Threshers before there were the Threshers. In fact, Wiederecht goes back with the Clearwater franchise to old Jack Russell Stadium when the Threshers were the Phillies. Shoot, Wiederecht has been an official scorekeeper in the Florida State League for so long, he's outlasted a few teams.
After the Cardinals disbanded and left Al Lang Stadium when the Tampa Bay (then-Devil) Rays came to St. Petersburg, Wiederecht worked for a while for the Dunedin Blue Jays before landing with the Threshers (nee, Phillies).
"I've been scoring in the league for 21 years," Wiederecht said. "I've been with the Threshers since 2000, so this is my 11th year."
Wiederecht had scored so many games and been at the job so many years, he can't remember how he landed with the Threshers.
"I can't really recall why," Wiederecht said. "Someone must have called me, but I can't recall."
Wiederecht sits in a booth along the left field line in the upper deck along with the , video and audio coordinators and other Threshers staffers. Not surprisingly, given his baseball job always working with numbers, Wiederecht is in charge of payroll and accounting at his hotel on Ulmerton Road.
The Threshers continue to call him before each season, and Wiederecht continues to answer the call.
Wiederecht began scoring games when, as a staff member of the St. Petersburg Cardinals, he left to take another job but the team needed someone to score games.
"It was something I was fairly adept at doing, and it worked," Wiederecht said.
When Wiederecht began working as an official scorer, it was all done by hand, which is laborious in that he would have to calculate totals after every game and then fax paperwork to baseball's home offices in New York. Now, his job is much easier.
"For the past 15 years, it has been done all by computer," Wiederecht said. That way, as soon as a game ends, the software tallies all the totals automatically, and with a click of a mouse the information is sent to New York.
Wiederecht doesn't often get calls or harassed by players who disagree with his scoring, as is often the case on the big league level. He said he may hear from a player upset with his scoring "a couple of times" a season.
Wiederecht admits he's a baseball guy through and through and couldn't score other sports because "I don't know that much about other sports. I don't know how they decide an assist in basketball, for example."
"This," Wiederecht points to the field at Bright House Field, "I know."
Ground balls: The Threshers wrap up a two-game homestand with their FSL North rivals Daytona tonight and will return home for a five-game homestand Wednesday. … Threshers pitchers continue to pepper the FSL’s list of top pitchers. RHP Trevor May leads the FSL in strikeouts with 102. … RHP Julio Rodriguez is tied for most wins with eight. … RHP Jonathan Pettibone is second in wins with seven and sixth in the league with an ERA of 2.80. … RHP Justin Friend is second in the FSL in saves with 19. … 1B Darin Ruf leads the league in doubles with 22.