Sometimes going to the game just isn’t good enough. Sometimes you need to spice up your in-game experience, especially in those bad times where the Jays are getting bombed. Some people do this with booze. Others do it by playing games within the game.
We here at 500 Level Fan do it with both.
Navin Vaswani’s recent column in the Globe and Mail about a game he calls Loonies (my friends and I play a very similar game we call the Hat Game), got me thinking about other ballpark games that add to the excitement of what is happening on the field. The first one that came to mind this week is a game that we play every single trip into the Dome. It is a game that we do not know what the prize is for winning. It is a game that has actually, to this day, never even had a winner. But it is a game that adds loads of excitement to the ballgame, because the more ridiculous you make it, the more fun it becomes.
It is a game we call “Three for Three”.
The origination of Three for Three (TFT for short) is unclear, lost in the haze and memory loss of upper deck 20 ounce Bud’s and countless St. Louis’ or Firkin or Lone Star pitchers. But the two simple rules have been the same since the game was born about four or five years ago:
1. Pick three distinct events you think will happen in the game.
2. Get all three right, you win.
Rule #1 is a lot easier said than done however. Each event must be approved by the entire group to be considered legal. Some considerations into selecting events are as follows:
– an event can be team or individual based (i.e. a sacrifice fly by the Jays, or a double by Adam Lind)
– it must be fairly specific (i.e. a base hit by Adam Lind is unacceptable, but a double by Lind, or an opposite field single by Lind, or a base hit in the 5th inning by Lind are acceptable)
– events can not be repeated, not within the group, and not by the same person at multiple games (i.e. a Lind double can not be used more than once in a season)
– an event does not necessarily have to involve a player (i.e. a foul ball will land within two rows of our seats)
As I said before, never in the history of TFT has there been a winner. Due to this fact, we have no idea what to award as a prize in the event a winner ever occurs. One thing that is obvious though, is that the prize must be significant. A victory after years and years of failure just can’t be rewarded with a beer or a shot. No – something majestic must happen.
But over the years there have been several close calls. In 2007, already with two events secured, one friend needed a multi-homer game for a Blue Jay. Adam Lind came up in the bottom of the ninth with one home run already, and launched a 1-2 pitch off the top of the wall in centre field. Double. No TFT.
Opening Day of 2009 I chose a 4-6-3 double play, a multiple hit game for Lyle Overbay and a ground rule double. After the double play was completed in the top of the first inning, and Overbay doubled in the bottom of the first, I was an Overbay ground rule double away from the win. Did not happen No TFT.
But by far the most agonizing was last season, with a fellow 500 Level Fan. Joe Inglett came to the plate with my opponent needing a stand-up triple. After a shot to the gap that rattled around the wall, Inglett came flying around second. When the throw was cut-off, it was obvious there would not be a relay to third. Inglett had the triple! The first victory in TFT was upon us! But NO!!! Inglett inexplicably slid head-first into the base, ruining the stand-up triple, and costing the TFT win. He has never lived it down.
One final rule to point out is the bonus rule. The bonus rule in TFT applies to all players: if Johnny Mac ever goes 5 for 5, it is an automatic win for all involved.
Like I said – we have never had a winner…..
The best part about the game by far is when the most creative choices actually come through. Some classics in TFT history include:
– a foul grounder to first base coach Ernie Whitt, who makes the catch one-handed, turns, and flips underhand into the crowd
– Miguel Tejada of Baltimore to be ejected for arguing balls and strikes
– a broken bat single between the shortstop and the second base bag
– a fly ball off the DQ ad on the right field wall
– a fan in our section to spill his beer while standing to let other fans into/out of his row
So for anyone heading to the dome this weekend, I encourage you to try it out. Feel free to email your event selections to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post the most creative. Remember, the more creative/wacky/out-there the selections, the sweeter it feels when they come through.