We've done a lot of thinking about situations where only a pencil will do. One of them is scoring a baseball game--a tedious American pastime where a good pencil is essential. Caitlin investigated this back in August and challenged me to find a better pencil. In the spirit of the playoffs, here it goes:
Let me first preface this by stating that I am a life-long Pirates fan. I was there, at Three Rivers Stadium when they were terrible for so long. I was sitting in the outfield at the opening day of PNC Park when it was announced that Willie Stargell had died. I have an original panoramic photo of Forbes Field and the whole team from the 1925 World Series hanging over my fireplace. I am not a fair-weather fan and what I love about being a baseball fan is that baseball fans don't just love their team but more than that, they love the game. And as for that game on Wednesday--I am 100% willing to admit that the Cubs deserved the win.
So, we had established previously that for scoring baseball the pencil should ideally be dark, really erasable and have maximum point retention (because who has time to sharpen between plays?). And of course, the pencil gets bonus points if it coordinates with your team's colors.
Based on this criteria, I chose the Tombow 2558 HB, the General's Supreme #1 and the Calepino Yellow #2 Pencil (simply because it is EXACTLY Pirates colors).
I started with the Calepino because really, it just matched so well. By the end of the first inning I realized that this was not going to be the winner because the eraser on the end isn't great and the point retention wasn't what I needed. There was already a pile of shavings mixed in with peanut shells on the floor.
Part of the reason I chose the 2558 was because of the eraser. Really, it is one of the very best erasers I've found on the end of a pencil. This one was fine, but again, the point retention left a bit to be desired and my tiny marks were smudging a little bit. I generally love this pencil because it runs soft for an HB and has just about every quality I look for in a general-use pencil. For this purpose though, I consider it simply acceptable.
At this point, I made the decision that it was indeed a good idea to choose some darker, softer pencils but I regretted not choosing more American pencils. This particular task requires a pencil that has an eraser on the end, which immediately eliminates most of my would-be top choices. Should I have brought the Cedar Pointe, the Try-Rex, or the General's Test Scoring? Maybe it's only right to use a local pencil to score America's game.
The last pencil I tried was the General's Supreme #1. This one is a great, standard yellow pencil with a soft eraser and slightly softer graphite. It was immediately apparent that this was the best of my three options. Sure, the point retention could be better but I tend to think that about most pencils anyway as I write with a heavy hand.
Conclusion: If you're going to be scoring baseball this October, you should definitely be using an American-made pencil! Knowing what I know now I'd recommend the newly re-issued General's Cedar Pointe #1. It also doubles as aromatherapy if your team is losing and you need to calm down.
Given the circumstances, I've decided that if I can't have my team I'll choose the Mets, my new hometown team. It doesn't hurt that when you buy a scorecard at a game they give you this cutie:
May the best team win and the best pencil save the day!