Tapey Beercone can be played just about anywhere, and the variety of locations and field characteristics represented in the Tapey Beercone Atlas provides amble evidence of this. The rules for field making are left intentially vague. So consice in fact, all rules and regulations for Tapey Beercone field-making could fit on the back of a post card. And while, there is no effort, neither within the Regency nor the player base at large to change these rules, a general trend has emerged over the seasons which has led to measured consistency between fields. This post will explore the Atlas to compare how fields vary, and just how consistent they are, with the aim to answer the question: What would the prototypical Tapey Beercone field look like.
Let’s start broad. Where is Tapey Beercone played? The answer is pretty much anywhere outdoors, with a bias towards pretty remote places. The Atlas of Tapey Beercone is dotted with fields across the west coast states with a group of remote fields in Alaska and a sprinkling of fields throughout the rest of the US. These fields include deserts, beaches, lake beds, grassy parks, and front lawns. But above all the most ubiquitous location for Tapey Beercone is in the forest, usually some place mountainous. What a more fitting location for the spiritual offspring of Piney Pinecone than to play within the pines themselves…
Beyond geography we can be more precise, if we average the locations for all fields located in the Atlas (weighted by play time) we’d end up at 41°57’36″N, 122°45’21″W which would put us along a remote Forest Service road in the Klamath National Forest on the north edge of California.
That’s a perfect location for our prototypical field!
Tapey Beercone began at The Ranch, with an elevation of 1,305 feet above sea level, and since then the average hasn’t changed much. Sure there has been plenty of variation. Hydrocline Beach was the first of four beach fields to be located effectively at sea level, and Syncline Shelf remains with highest elevation field at 7,660 feet high. Extremes aside most fields have sat with a range from 1,000 to 5,000 ft high, with the weighted average currently standing at 1,631 ft.
Our prototypical field would fit somewhere within that range.
The regular baseball field is most often aligned so that the batter looks out east towards the pitcher’s mound. This keeps the afternoon sun out of the batter’s eyes. In Tapey Beercone this modicum of foresight is rarely possible. Instead Tapey Beercone fields are constructed to fit within the available confines with an orientation governed by what the site will allow. The Ranch’s first field,Gordon Field, was in fact aligned to the west, opposite what is typical for baseball. Since then a field has been played on facing every cardinal direction. But if there exists a trend it is for fields to be played facing to the Northwest, in fact nearly all new fields played on since Season 4 have faced this general direction.
Our prototypical field would point toward the Northwest.
Tapey Beercone’s rules do not prescribe a set angle for the foul lines running along first and third base. (In fact, the foul lines needn’t even follow the baselines themselves) Unlike in baseball, where the play area is always set at a square 90° angle, The Game of Kings allows for a fluid angle to fit the confines of a given sight. Tapey Beercone can be played in very narrow confines, and in many early games this was often the case. Gordon Field is notoriously narrow with an a play angle of just 45°, and other early play areas such as Nebesna Wayside or Mad River Cathedral were equally narrow.
But over time this tendency changed. Season 3 began with the first field played at a full 90° right angle at Hell Hole Graveyard. This started a trend towards wider fields. Since the beginning of Season 4, only Hitachi Bowl and “The Beach is Gone” Wash have play angles of less than 65°. This has led the average field to a larger and wider level.
Our prototypical field would have a field angle of about 65° to 70°.
Played mostly outdoors in remote locations, the field surfaces for Tapey Beercone are not usually ideal for ball sport play. The surfaces are usually uneven, and often composed of a rough surface with minimal vegetation such as gravel, silt, or beach sand. When vegetation is present it’s usually in the form of grass or forest brush. There exists little trend from field to field, though more recent fields have generally been a compact gravel or grassy lawns.
For our prototypical field we’ll go with the compacted gravel of our forest service road.
Since the original game, fielders playing Tapey Beercone have had to learn to work around obstacles in the field of play. These usually take the form of trees and bushes. Some fields take this to the extreme such as The Thunder Dome which was so chock full of trees it nearly blotted out all sun light! However, overall most fields do not actually have obstacles in the field of play. What is more typical is for the play area to be built in an open space with many obstacles close to the boundary, and with maybe a tree or two to play around in the deep outfield. In these cases the deep outfield trees often acted as the boundary where dead ball ground rule doubles are called such as is the case with the “Green Monsters” at both Gordon Field and New Gordon Field at The Ranch.
For our prototypical field, we’ll keep the field clear, but place trees and other obstacles just out of play. And we’ll toss a dead ball zone cluster of trees to one side of the outfield.
Now we get to the details, the individual bases of the game themselves. While during the early days there was little standard between fields, a more uniform catalog of bases has been developed over more recent seasons. For first base a large object is almost always chosen, sometimes a sheet of plywood or a wheel barrow, but by far the most often used is a table turned on its side. For second base a small object such as a small box or container is often used, but the most often is the simple bucket. For third the almost uniform choice is a chest cooler, and our field would be no different. The reward for many a Tapey Beercone runner upon reaching third base is reaching into the third base cooler and pulling out a fresh cold one!
As for Home plate, it is often nothing more than a couple of flat rocks, but since the first game of Tapey Beercone there has also always been a backstop object. This was often a large immovable object located at the field site, or a cooler pushed into place. However since Season 3 the most used backstop has been a homemade portable backstop, purpose built and brought along for the game.
So our prototypical field would be:
- 1st Base: Table
- 2nd Base: Bucket
- 3rd Base: Cooler
- Home Plate: Flat Rock with mobile backstop
Grand Salami Zone
Hitting a Grand Salami represents to greatest milestone a hitter can achieve in Tapey Beercone. What trouble then that it happens on such low frequency. The reasons for this have much to do with the choosing of the zone to much a beercone must be hit to register this greatest of successes. Through most of the Sport’s early fields the zone was represented by a small tree in deep center field, never an easy target. The zone has varied by field since then, usually taking what the field offers be it a hit directly into a water feature, a picnic table, or the top of a barn roof. Recently Trailerville Acres has innovated with a mobile Grand Salami Zone. Still, a simple tree hit into on the fly remains far and above the most often used target.
It is of no coincidence that the one recording of a Grand Salami in all the annals of Tapey Beercone took place at the field with the largest Grand Salami Zone. That being the dried up creek bed at Mad River Cathedral.
For our prototypical field we wouldn’t buck the trend, and a small tree out in center field would be the target.
That about wraps it up, here’s what “Quintessential Field” would look like:
|Location||Klamath National Forest|
|Play Area Angle||65°|
|Grand Salami Zone||Land in Tree.|
|Grand Salamis Hit||None|
|Infield Surface||Compacted Gravel|
|Outfield Surface||Compacted Gravel|
|Beer Pope Coronations||None|
|Total Regents to Play at the Field||0|
But while “Quintessential Field” might represent Tapey Beercone’s norm, the only true constant among Tapey Beercone fields is change. What better sign of this then the most recent addition to the Tapey Beercone Atlas, a field that bucks nearly every trend, that being the first international field, played in an entirely new landscape almost indistinguishable from fields past, Iceland’s own Haoldukvisl Field.