Hammer Time: The Beercone: A Material Study – Part I – Introduction

We all know the legend by now. How Piney Pinecone evolved from a child’s game into the Game of Kings over a frigid January weekend at The Ranch, a little more than nine years ago.

We know the major tenets of the game, the 5-3 Runs/Outs limit, the Foul Out, Beaning the Runner, and the Testicle Amendment, survive to this day without modification from their original form. The spirit of the game has remained largely unchanged as well, only having grown to incorporate inebriated nonsense as part of the Art of Shit-talking. To the outside observer, watching games of Piney Pinecone side-by-side with Tapey Beercone, very little would hold them apart and that was the point. A single critical innovation proved the catalyst for that glorious evolution; The crafting of the first Beercone.

The original Beercone used in the first game.

The process of crafting a Beercone is conceptually very simple. Smush three beer cans, stack them, and tape them together. Easy, right? NO! It isn’t easy. A well crafted Beercone sustains dozens of high force impacts over the course of a game. It changes shape, mass, and size. Tape is added, removed, and the Beercone must be repaired with the utmost care. In the early history of Tapey Beercone, the Beercones were crude. Poor design and construction often led to a need to create more than one Beercone per game. They would also routinely split in mid-air, keeping the split ball double a part of the game. They also were spongy, making throwing more difficult and hitting less effective. This could have been normal. The game may have never progressed because of the hindrance of its ball, but another fluke of chance provided Salvation.

Enter the Ballsmith.

Grand Master Ballsmith “The Hammer” with Ballprentice “The Natural”

From the very first game, all the way up until late in Season 4, every single Beercone was constructed by me, “The Hammer”. Through the iterations of construction I discovered the secrets of Beercone crafting. However, it does take two to make a Beercone. A master, and an apprentice. So the Order of the Ballsmith was founded. To this day I have taken on three Ballprentices. To my great pride, “The Natural” and “The Coach” have both graduated to Journeyman Ballsmiths.

The path of the Ballsmith requires a deep understanding of the materials and how their application affects the Beercone in play. Through training, and under the watchful eyes of the Grand Master, a stupid handed dullard can be crafted into a useful member of society. In this three part series, we will explore the materials needed to craft a Beercone.

Up Next: Part II – Cans

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