Ah, two of America’s greatest pastimes: playing baseball and crushin’ brewskis. Our ever-innovative product development team had the genius idea to combine them in our latest original product: Home Run Beer Pong. When our team is working on something new for our assortment, they typically need some guinea pigs to test it out – and lucky for us on the blog squad, people to document the process! I’ll admit, I’m no sports expert. But since I have played a fair amount of beer pong in my day, I figured I was qualified enough to tackle the reporting of this product-testing event while Cassie, our blog editor, handled the photos.
Allow me to set the scene for you. It all went down in Conference Room A-2 – the table free of it’s usual keyboards and mouse pads, instead replaced with a mini paper baseball diamond (the real game has a board, not just a sheet of paper – remember we were product testing). Our single can of Canada Dry was cracked and ready, and our two opposing teams were eager to show off their baseball playing, soda slugging skills. Another disclaimer: the real game is meant to be played with beer, obviously, but we were playing at 11 AM on a Thursday and we only had the conference room booked for an hour, so we kept it low-key. But, you’re free to chug ginger ale instead if that’s what you’re into.
Let’s meet the players. We had many statistical minds on the field/conference table, including two whole Kens! Ken “The Elder” is our Data Scientist, and Ken “The Younger” (also known as “Yung Ken” in some underground rap circles) is our Jr. Data Scientist. They obviously formed a team. Team Ken. AKA the Red Team. Next up is Craig, our Data Analyst, and Jackie, our PR Intern who did double duty slugging it out and documenting the process on the UGoods Insta. Craig and Jackie don’t have the same name (bummer) but still made a fine Blue Team.
After a brief review of the rules from the brains behind it all, Senior Product Developer Tiffany, the game commenced.
You bat using a small catapult, which in the final version is secured to the board, but our players toughed it out and held it in place as they launched the ball into the cups. You can also rotate the catapult to get an optimal angle. The ball is attached to a string so you don’t have to go chasing it all over the room, which could become a problem if you’ve had one too many ginger ales.
Getting the ball into any of the 4 cups in the first row counts as a “single,” which means you move your game piece one base on the mini baseball diamond. The real game will have real game pieces, but we used War Heads – which we all know are the bossest nostalgic candies of all – since the game was still in its development phase. Making it into any of the three cups behind the “singles” would be a double, the next two a triple, and the single cup furthest away is a home run. When you get a hit (sink a cup), someone from the opposing team has to drink that cup. The premise really is a combination of beer pong and baseball, but you aren’t drunkenly swinging bats around and the cups are more mini and much cuter. Also, unlike in traditional beer pong, the cups are refilled after each team’s turn.
Just like in real baseball, 3 strikes means you’re out. You switch between players on your team until you reach three outs, and then the opposing team is up. Another important rule that quickly became relevant in our game is that if the ball bounces off the board into a cup, that counts as a strike, not a hit. If the ball bounces off another cup into a cup, that counts as a hit.
The finished game board will come with a piece of chalk that you can use to keep score right on the board, but Tiffany handled the stats for this test game. And man, was it a close one. Both teams had some standout moments and also faced some heartbreakers.
You can choose to play for 9 innings like traditional baseball, or for 6, which is “Little League” style. We opted for Little League due to time constraints. We didn’t want whoever had the room booked next to come in for a meeting and find us playing a drinking game in the middle of the day.
Throughout our 6 nail-biting innings, some ideas for “house rules” came up. Like, (this is mostly a joke) what if these cups were filled with hard liquor instead of beer? Something to consider for more serious drinkers. Also, we decided we should probably get a beer pong baseball fantasy draft going around the office.
Though we’re all winners here for getting to do this in the middle of a work day, after a very close final inning, the Blue Team ended up being the real MVPs. Good game, all! We’re excited that the real thing (see below!) will be available soon so that our UG customers can try it out, too.