Among the collection of team sports, one unique characteristic all base and ball varieties share is the lack of a clock. Instead of a timed game ending when the clock reaches zero, in base and ball sports a game runs for a defined series of contests, innings, and only when the last out is recorded in the last of these innings is the game over. At least this is the case most of the time, yet there is another way for a game to end. During the last inning, if the team last up to bat can come from behind, or break a tie, to take the lead, the game immediately ends. In baseball this is called a walk-off, exemplified by the walk-off home run where a batter scores the winning run on a home run, trots around the bases, and walks off the field victorious. The feat is rare in baseball, rarer still in Tapey Beercone, yet one player stands above the rest by accomplishing it twice.
Tapey Beercone went through almost two seasons before the first opportunity for a walk off hit presented itself. This occurred at Big Apple Field during the Miracle near 79th St. In the game’s final inning Ryan “The Mechanic” came up to bat representing the go ahead run and with the tying runner on 1st base. In that first chance, Ryan was unsuccessful with the at bat ending in a game ending out, but it wouldn’t take long for Ryan to experience triumph. Just over a year later, during the Season 3 Great Basin Series, Ryan hit the Sport’s first walk-off, when he roped a double to score the winning run from second in the first game at Cave Lake.
Since then walk-off hits have remained rare. Only one walk off was hit during each of the next two seasons during stats games. During Season 5 “The Mechanic” hit his second at a game at The Ranch. The Annals include a couple more, including two walk offs in Oregon during the 1st games of double headers, first at the Post-Wedding Double Header, and second during the 5th Annual Oregon TBC Invitational. To date “The Mechanic” remains the only player to accomplish the feat twice.
Walk off hits are rare and exciting, but by digging deeper into the Annals of Tapey Beercone one can find a feat of even greater rarity, a feat of infamy. To begin this search we must first investigate the origin of the term “Wall-off”. According to MLB.com, the term was coined by MLB Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley not to express offensive triumph, but to signify defensive defeat. The original term was actually “Walk-off Piece” and as Eckersey explained:
It was always walk-off piece, like something you would hang in an art gallery. The walk-off piece is a horrible piece of art.
The term quickly morphed to represent the batter successfully walking off the field in victory, but it originally was meant to denote a pitcher walking off the field with his head down in defeat. Could the same act be found in Tapey Beercone? Not quite. The issue being that Tapey Beercone is an offensive sport, with pitchers being viewed as successful in giving up three or fewer runs in a last inning. It would be overly cruel to view as an epic failure simply conceding a single run that wins the game. So instead one can look to the offensive side for particularly ignominious moments of defeat. Here we have an answer, not any simply act of batting failure, but a game losing act in the worst possible fashion, introducing the “Stumble-Off”.
Stumble-Off – To lose the game by committing a beer foul.
In Tapey Beercone allowing one’s beer to be spilled is a serious misdeed, and is punished in the utmost manner. If the Foul is committed by an offensive player, their team is penalized with an out, if by a defensive player, the offense is awarded a run. In either case, this out or run could be the final tally necessary to end the game. Should this be the case, the player has committed a “Stumble-Off” whereby they offend the spirit of the Sport in the highest fashion, and stumble off the field is disgrace and defeat. It turns out a Stumble-Off has occurred in Tapey Beercone’s Annals, twice!
The first Stumble-Off was the final play of the Rout on the Rubicon, where Boyd “The Rocket”, deep in the nadir of his mid-career slump, made the game ending play by having the beer knocked out of his hand while batting. Then roughly four years later in Season 5, it was “The Rocket” again who made the game’s final out, this time by slicing open his own beer during his follow through! While no visual record exists of the either Stumble-Off, in the case of the second we have photos from earlier in the game showing what the swing may have looked like:
There will be more stumbles offs in the future, and someday other players are sure to join the list and may tie or even surpass “The Rocket”. Yet for now he remains “The Stumble-Off King”.