Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Baseball Card Drinking Game, but You're Not Gonna Like it....

I wrote this post in January 2013, but I'm scheduling it for the first day of Winter 2014 because of reasons.  Enjoy!

We got a fire pit for Christmas. 

That sentence/picture should imply what is coming in the description of the drinking game below.  If this upsets you, stop reading here.

Yes, the game involves burning baseball cards alive.  There.  I said it.

Not good baseball cards - crappy ones.  Like 1990 Donruss commons and 1992 Fleer Rookie Prospects that didn't pan out.  Filler.  Junk cards.  Cards that take up space in a box somewhere in your house.  Severely damaged or ruined cards with totally destroyed corners or humidity stick damage.  And not huge numbers but one or two at a time, usually about 60 per game.  I assure you, the hoarder in me would never let me burn anything but the absolute worst common cards. 

Before we play, I painstakingly weed out anything that may have any value at all: great night pictures to someday send to Night Owl, double-play pictures I've been keeping for garvey cey russell lopes, and anything else that I consider of value to any bloggers I subscribe to.

Here's how it works:

Take a stack of cards.  I use 60, but you pick how many - the more you have, the longer the game lasts. 

Go through them, removing duplicates and any cards that matter to anyone in the world.  There are some guys with unfunny names that just shouldn't burn.  Dan Wilson, Will Clark, Gary Carter.  Don't burn anything that is worth saving to anybody.  That is not the spirit of this game.  The cards you use should be worthless to the world.

Sit with all the people playing around the crackling fire pit, alcoholic beverages in hand.

Every person picks one card off the top of the stack of cards.  Once each person has one card, they take turns reading the players' names out loud. 

Whichever player has the funniest name per turn, that card advances to the next round and gets put aside.  The rest of the cards go into the fire, and the people whose cards they were drink in honor of the player with the unfunny name. 

Turns are repeated until all the cards in the stack have been sacrificed or put aside, thus completing a round.  Uneven numbers (such as there being 2 cards left but 3 people playing) get a free pass into the next round. 

At the end of round 1 you will have gotten rid of a big chunk of players. 

Shuffle and repeat. 

For the remaining rounds, you only sacrifice one card per turn - that being the one with the least funny name.  In these rounds, since there is only one sacrifice per turn, the person who owns that card takes 2 drinks for the sacrifice instead of one.

You continue like this, repeating rounds until only one card remains.  That card is saved from the flames due to the funniness of his name and treated like a short-printed Mike Trout rookie.  Put it in a top-loader.  Show it off.  It is a silly-name champion.

These are all would-be champions, but I keep them in a separate binder of silliness.  Thus they will never be subjected to the game.

This tends to get fun as the rounds progress because the people playing eventually have to argue their points as to why their player name is funnier than another.  The other night we had quite a debate of Dan Plesac vs. Lance Johnson.  Johnson won out, but the other person was adamant about the "sack" sound in Dan's name being funnier.  Let's just say it went pretty far.

Judgements are for overall funniness.  This can mean silly-sounds, nerdiness, sexually-suggestive, ironic, personal, and every reason in between.  It all depends on your arguments.  "K" sounds and sexually-suggestive names tend to do quite well in this game.

We have already played 3 games.  Here are the winners so far:

Jeff Kunkel
Rob Dibble
Sterling Hitchcock

All these cards won reprieve among their brethren.  They will live forever, enshrined in plastic.

Sterling Hitchcock barely squeaked by Jeff Samardzija.  In the end, it was decided that with a first name like Sterling, there was no contest.  If it had been Jeff Hitchcock, Samardzija would have won handily.  How do you pronounce that name, anyway?

Here's some important rules:

The picture on the card doesn't matter.  Keep in mind that this is strictly about the player's name.  He could be sliding into third in a rainbow wig - it is inadmissible.  No visual elements pertaining to the card itself.  The only weapons you may use are the enunciation of his name and whatever arguments you can come up with regarding the funniness of said name.

Mass Sacrifice: It may happen sometimes that everyone pulls a really unfunny name, like Jeff Smith, Eric Smith, and Brad....Smith, all in one round.  If it is unanimous that none of those chosen has any chance at winning, all the cards may be sacrificed regardless of round.  In this case everybody drinks and new cards are chosen.  However, the decision for a mass sacrifice must be unanimous, so if even one person wants to argue their card's name is funniest, then they must be allowed to do so, and the round progresses as normal. 

Reclamation: the collector protection rule.  While it is the responsibility of the owner of the cards to go through them responsibly, occasionally one or two keepers may slip by and find their way into the game.  Because we are not animals, in this case the owner of the card has a right to save select cards from the flames.  The owner of the cards being used in the game always has the right to reclaim a card, thus saving it from being burned or damaged by normal handling in the game.  For example, if in the middle of round one, someone has Mark Wohlers and the owner happens to collect Atlanta pitchers, he or she can say, "Nope - not the Wohlers. Give it here" and take the card out of the game.  The person who had the Wohlers then gets a new card for that turn, and the game progresses as normal.

I'd love to hear your winners if you decide you're sadistic enough to play.  I must admit that sometimes I feel a little guilty throwing cards to the flames, but I think that we as a group glean more enjoyment watching them burn (the inks make pretty colors, and chromium printing makes a satisfying crackle) than having them sit in a box for years. And it's fun assigning importance to cards that will never really be valuable in anybody's eyes but the people playing.


  1. We played just the other night. The winner was Heathcliff Slocumb.

  2. The thought of lots of people playing this game makes me nervous. "Tim" is for the most part not that funny of a name.

  3. I have to play this game. Sounds like a blast.

  4. "When Kansas City's Chris Getz Reaches First This Season, Base Coach Rusty Kuntz Will Be There to Greet Him", and then when the first baseman has to hold the runner, hilarity ensues (well, for those of us who enjoy such humor :) ) -

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  6. Last night's champion was Goose Gozzo. He just barely edged out Paul Assenmacher.