Stat Chug: A specially brewed stats based draft.
Beers Per Inning, Chugging Percentage, and the Origins of the Statistical Era of Tapey Beercone.
It was in the run up to the Season 3 opening series at Hell Hole that we first began a serious discussion about recording statistics during games. Not just winners and losers, and game scores as had been done in past seasons, but much more rigorous play-by-play statistics. This wasn’t unprecedented, way back during the Piney Pinecone Days at Jim Siemens Field, there was a concerted, though ultimately fruitless, attempt to record statistics during those games. We talked about how we could do it: how would we record, and more importantly what would we record? Simply hits versus outs?, or could we record all the basic play outcomes from baseball? (1B, 2B, 3B, etc.) Then it hit us: What about recording beers? It was with that thought that we knew stats needed to become a thing!
Drinking has and will always be a major part of Tapey Beercone, but unlike other “Drinking Games” it really serves the drinking player and their team no advantage. In fact, as the exploits of the game’s lineage of Beer Popes would attest, it’s often a hindrance. And that’s kind of the point. Tapey Beercone has always found itself perched on a fine line between competitiveness and conviviality; you play to win, but you also play to have a good time. And drinking fits right in to this. You aren’t enticed to drink beer as part of some scheme to gain a strategic advantage over your opponents (setting aside “The Master’s” epic drunken-baiting of “The Reverend” during the final game of the Hell Hole Series). No, you drink because it’s part of the game, because your having fun with your friends, and because you feel like it. That’s why as the rules simply state, “It is suggested that each player consume a minimum one beer per inning.” It’s not a hard and fast rule, you do what you want, but if you plan to keep up, there’s a minimum to shoot for. But in all our time playing, and drinking, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and sometimes way too much, we hadn’t the groggiest idea how much we were actually been consuming?
And for that matter, to get back to the sport’s dichotomic nature, we didn’t really know who was drinking the most. Sure we had our guesses, but who really knew? There would certainly be bragging rights granted to the game’s greatest drinker. We immediately thought about how we’d measure that. Would it just simply who drank the most beers? No, just like in baseball you need to account for play time, you care about who had the highest batting average more than you do who had the most hits. And just like that, our first stat was born: BPI, Beers per Inning. Simply take total beers consumed divided by totals innings played and you had a rate stat to compare all players by. You could compute it for a single game, for a series or season, or just all of statistical history, to find who one might deem the greatest drinker. A year and a half later the awards committee would settle on a slightly modified version call rBPI to judge that award, but such is a topic for another post…
So we knew we could keep track of beers and keep BPI as a stat. But what else could we do with the information. Our euphoria over the discovery of BPI gave us the drive to rout out a simple method to record basic play-by-play results, meaning we’d have all the basic baseball results, and all the basic derivative stats such as batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Almost immediately after these methods were determined, the question was proposed as to how they could be combined with BPI. The simplest answer is our second stat: CHG, Chugging Percentage. Simply the product of factoring BPI and regular Slugging Percentage (SLG). This immediately became our go to for a prestige stat, representing a player’s exploits at “well rounded” achievement. To score a high mark in CHG a player would need to drink plentifully and hit the ball well, but the best way to accomplish this would vary by player. Some might hit extremely well, while participating in moderate drinking, others might tilt back more than their fair share of cans while holding up respectably at the plate, but by combining those two “skills”; to swing the bat well whilst drinking readily, a player was setting a prime example for how to best to play the game.
And in the two plus season’s hence, both these stats have led to interesting records and incredible achievements. It was true, most regular players do keep up the 1 BPI minimum, and many of them exceed it mightily with career BPI at or over 1.5! With two players managing to reach 2.0 for a season in season 4. And while league average CHG hovers around .900, many players manage a career mark over 1.000. And on a single game basis, chugging a 2.000 places one within the prestigious company of the game’s greatest players.
Through time, many more facets would be added to the statistics annals: fielding and base running, value analysis, regressive and predictive analytics; but it all began with a simple question: How much is everybody drinking?