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El Paso, TX (KDBC) — There are a lot of moving parts that make sure the Chihuahuas franchise runs smoothly on game day. Perhaps one of the most important parts, at least to the players, is the guy keeping score.
The official scorekeeper is literally writing baseball history. A statistical reference of every single pitch in every single game. At the Triple-A level, those stats can decide who may get that call into the Major Leagues so the pressure is on to be accurate, and who better to do the job for the Chihuahuas than a long time El Pasoan.
Bernie Ricono is in the press box at Southwest University Park each and every home game for a job that most people may not know even exists and goes largely unnoticed on game day. The former UTEP Defensive Coordinator under Bill Michael in the late 70's has also been keeping score for baseball in El Paso for the last 36 years covering the Diablos at Dudley Field, then Cohen Stadium and into Independent baseball.
"It was different because Independent ball you don't have to be so precise. Double A of course you need to be more precise, but here every error, every hit, every earned run in there may keep someone from going up or going down," said Ricono.
Bernie still keeps score the old fashioned way by hand and his assistant, Matt Mika does the rest through a computer program.
"You know, in a day where it is technology driven, everything is on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, everything is done on a computer. For Bernie to do it the old school way is fantastic to see," said Mika.
Despite almost four decades as a scorekeeper, Bernie still takes the job very seriously.
"It's not easy and you're affecting a lot of people's lives. A lot of young men who have dedicated their life to this particular game. For you to make a call that say, hey that's an error on you. And the big league clubs say, we can't bring you up, you cant field! You have got to be very careful and I'm cognizant of that."
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