Monday, September 27, 2010

The Batter Up Game

At a really good Rockies’ game last night (see-saw lead, tied 9-9 in 9th, Rockies won in bottom of the 10th. Go Rockies!) (but dang, they’re probably out of it now) I learned a side-betting game that proved to be fun. I wasn’t told a name, so I made one up for the title of this blog.

This is a side-betting game played among a group of people watching the game.

Initially, everybody antes up some agreed-on amount into the pot. $1/person is common, and I’ll assume that below. Larger amounts could clearly be used.

The pot is passed from person to person among the group, in an order determined at the start, in a cycle. We just passed to the person in the adjacent seat to the left, then back to the start.

The game begins when the first batter comes up to bat, and the pot is passed to the next person whenever a new player comes up to bat for either team. The player at bat when a person is holding the pot is “his planer” (or “her player”).

What happens to the pot depends on what happens to your player in his time at bat:

1.       If your player goes out – e.g., strikes out, flies out, tagged out on the play his hit initiated – you add $1 to the pot and pass it to the next person. That player’s being tagged out later – due, say, to being picked off by the pitcher or tagged out in a play initiated by someone else – doesn’t matter.
2.       If your player walks, you just pass the pot, neither adding nor removing anything from it: “If he walks, it walks.”
3.       If your player hits a single, you take $1 from the pot and pass it on.
4.       If your player hits a double, you take $2 from the pot and pass it on.
5.       If your player hits a triple, you take $3 from the pot and pass it on.
6.       If your player hits a home run, you take the entire pot. Everybody antes up again, and the new pot goes to the next person in order.
7.       The person holding the pot when the game ends keeps the entire pot.

That’s all there is to it. The pot size can get reasonably large in a low-scoring game. In a high-scoring game, it rises and falls a lot.

I generally don’t like betting, but I found this enhanced my enjoyment of the game. Be sure you arrive with a bunch of $1 bills, though.

I’ve been wondering if the same principles could be applied to other sports. Football (American) – maybe. Something like taking from the pot on positive yardage, and putting more in on negative. Maybe $1 for each 5 yard interval, starting with $1 for 1-5 yards? Needs a cap, though, or 90-yeard plays would get too expensive for a minor fun game.

Soccer? Can’t see it. Ditto Hockey. Cricket? I don’t know enough about it to say.

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