The Count is full – or is it (he) even?

Back when I was a kid, the scoreboard at Cleveland Municipal stadium had a cartoon of a vampire feasting at a dinner table. It played when there was a 3-2 count. Get it? The Count is Full. I like puns, so I liked that one.

The phrase “the count is full” means that there are the maximum number if balls and strikes in an at bat. The following pitch is called the “pay-off” pitch. But that is not exactly true as a foul ball will extend the batter’s at bat.

But there is another phrase in baseball describing the pitch count that is a pet peeve of mine. I’ll often hear an announcer say “That brings the count even at two and two.” But let’s take a step back. The  batter is retired at three strikes and the batter advances at four balls. Therefore, the next pitch may retire the batter or extend the at bat. How is that even? Seems to me that a 2-2 count actually favors the pitcher.

Which brings me to the idea that a 3-2 pitch is actually “even”, as the batter may either retire or advance on the basis of the next pitch. But that doesn’t make for a fun animation, so a  little joy of my childhood would be missing. I guess I just have to let this go.