I apologize to Fungraphs’ seven loyal readers for the lack of recent activity on the site. I went through a debilitating writers block over the last three weeks, likely perpetuated by the slog of posting five esoteric articles per week analyzing the hard hit flyball rates for the Ketel Marte’s and Chad Pinder’s of the world. But I digress. We’re back, with a promise (hopefully kept) to put the “Fun” back in Fungraphs with a focus on providing lighter and more nonsensical content.
With that said, today’s post tasks the reader with a situation: you’re ready for a night out, and, like a baseball manager, you need to chart out a lineup. But instead of a lineup of baseball players, this is a lineup of alcohol. A “Booze Batting Order” so to speak. Who hits lead off? Who bats cleanup? What’s the shitty ass beer or vodka that you stuff in the eight hole? These are all things we will explore in the subsequent paragraphs.
Before we get into it, this is not a Fungraphs original. Comedic genius Bill Burr first explored such a situation on his podcast a couple weeks ago. Take a listen. This is merely our take.
1st. What are the ideal qualities of a lead-off hitter? While consensus has shifted some over the last decade, most baseball minds would agree that patience and speed are ideal attributes. Someone who can work a walk and then steal second base. In terms of an analogous alcohol, I’m looking for something that goes down smooth, but packs a decent punch and serves as the spark-plug to your night. Look no further than Jack and Diet Coke. Low on calories and taste, and likely watered down, Jack and Diet still manages to put you in a nice place to start the night.
2nd. While most lead-off hitters are scrappy on-base guys, no such unanimity exists for the two-hole. Josh Donaldson, one of the most fearsome power hitters in baseball, typically hits second for Toronto, while DJ Lemahieu, a wispy high-contact guy, hits second for Colorado. In terms of my booze batting order, I’d like to split the baby between power and finesse, and go with Red Wine Sangria. Drink too much of it and your night will be over before it started (along with a brutal hangover the next day), but have just the right amount and you’re setting the table nicely for what’s to follow.
3rd. The third spot is usually occupied by the best overall hitter in the lineup. Think of names like Arenado, Harper, Votto, Freeman and Goldschmidt. They hit for average, work walks and smack bombs, inflicting maximum damage on the opposing pitcher (and in this case your ability to see straight). Motivated by clear personal bias here, I’ll go with the Old Fashioned. Despite it’s simplicity – just whisky, bitters and some sugar/simple syrup – the Old Fashioned manages to be equal parts strong, sweet and smooth. And it’ll get you drunk.
4th. Oh Jesus, we’ve arrived to the clean-up spot. The spot where the big bats come out to play. Expect a lot of violent swings, home runs and strikeouts. The Adam Duvall’s, Khris Davis’ and Edwin Encarnacion’s. In this spot you want a beverage that can clear the bases, and put you in a state of mind where the performance of the rest of the lineup doesn’t matter. There is only one drink that fully accomplishes this feet, and that is the Espresso Martini, sometimes referred to as the classy man’s Vodka Red Bull. The alcohol-caffeine combination in this beverage will give you unbridled energy for the night, along with runaway delusions of grandeur, so be careful.
5th. Definitely the loner of the batting order, the five hole is usually a rotating position that serves as the place to drop the two through four hitters while they’re struggling or to promote the six through eight hitters who are doing well. This is reserved for an alcohol that is maddeningly inconsistent in its effects. Sometimes it makes the night great, other times it results in a disgusting combination of tears and vomit on your shirt. Step right up Tequila Shots!
6th. The sixth spot is kind of similar to the fifth. No player in baseball has accumulated 300 plate appearances out of the sixth spot in the order, highlighting its role as a transitional haven for guys who are on the cusp of being good but really aren’t. In terms of what this means for booze? Think of a rotating menu of mixed drinks that are bit lighter on the alcohol content (at least compared to what you consumed in the three through five slots), since at this juncture you should probably ease up a bit. Jack and Ginger, Gin and Tonic or Vodka Soda are all acceptable choices here.
7th. Unless we’re dealing with the Houston Astros, it’s probably not smart to expect much from the bottom third of the batting order. In terms of alcohol, we’ve entered wild card territory, which is why I’ll go with an India Pale Ale. These beverages are terrible, but at this point you’re drunk enough that you’ll likely drink whatever bottle of beer is put in front of you. The blinding drunkenness will mask the horrendous taste, and you’ll probably finish the whole thing in seven minutes. Unfortunately, the bloating and beer burps that come along with chugging a pale ale will soon manifest.
8th. Who hits eighth? Guys who aren’t very good. Sometimes the pitcher even hits eighth in the National League. We’re looking for something light that can tide us over until we inevitably pass out in the next hour. For this task I’d like to nominate Bud Light Lime. One step removed from a glass of water with a lime wedge in it, BLL will be your first step in the hydrating process and its light, crisp body should counter the soupy aftertaste of the Pale Ale you just chugged.
9th. This can go in one of two directions. We can acknowledge the night is over and have another Bud Light Lime. Or, based on the fact that you didn’t hook up with anyone and feel lonely, we can double down and try to cobble together one last burst of energy to resurrect the evening. Since you only live once, I recommend going with a Hennessy Red Bull, otherwise known as Crunk Juice. Capping your night off with a drink like this will surely make you feel like shit the next day, and has about a 2% chance of improving the rest of your night. But hey, that’s one out of 50 nights that gets better. Go for it champ!