Yahtzee and BaseballNovember 8, 2011
As readers of The Yahtzee Manifesto know, Yahtzee began as a quasi-Buddhist method of increasing one’s levels of good karma and was developed thousands of years ago in Tibet. While some may contend that Yahtzee was invented by a bored Canadian couple sailing their yacht on a Great Lakes cruise or conjured up by a desperate board game manufacturing company, these arguments hold no water. Crazy notions like these are nearly as misguided as calling the theory of evolution “just a theory” or of building a museum to teach children that the earth is 6000 years old. I suppose there have always been and always will be wacked-out cranks in the world. Just like the loons who stubbornly adhere to the fantasy that baseball is “America’s pastime”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the game of baseball. What red-blooded American doesn’t love watching juiced-up freaks of nature competing on the same field with overweight tub-of-lards in mind-numbingly slow competition? But Yahtzee was, without a doubt, the original American pastime. In fact, many elements of baseball were borrowed from Yahtzee. Unfortunately, baseball’s early players also borrowed heavily from such English amusements as Rounders, cricket, and watching paint dry. These limey elements of baseball contributed heavily to the game’s development and tend to overshadow its Yahtzee-esque characteristics. But should anyone doubt Yahtzee’s influence upon the game of baseball, I’ll let the facts speak for themselves:
1. Unlike other American team sports in which the length of a game is measured by a set amount of time, baseball is divided into nine innings and the length of a game can vary dramatically. This feature was borrowed from the unvarying structure of a game of Yahtzee, in which each player takes a set number of 13 turns and there is no time limit.
2. Both Yahtzee and baseball can be enjoyed as a single game, but the real beauty only emerges after playing a multitude of games. The 162-game baseball season is extreme compared to other American sports’ schedules but because of the slow nature of the game, it takes this long to notice real differences between teams. Similarly, a poor Yahtzee player can defeat a more seasoned pro in a single game, but a true measure of skill only becomes obvious over a long series of games.
3. Baseball derives its profusion of statistics from Yahtzee. For example:
Runs Batted In (RBI) = Full House Dis (FHD)
Base on Balls (BB) = Boven Bonus Quotient (BBQ)
The Yahtzee Manifesto explores many other aspects of life where Yahtzee has exerted its awesome influence.