Situational Essay: Babermetrics

When we recruited Epilogue Magazine editor Corban Goble to contribute a term to the Rogue’s Baseball Index, we didn’t know it would lead to this.  That term, Babermetrics, has become a full-blown science. Here’s Corban’s overview.

In 2003, the innovations outlined in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball brought deep statistical analysis to Major League Baseball’s front offices and to the mainstream. However, baseball’s statistical awakening strangely hasn’t trickled down to the world of hooking up, a world still framed in the antiquated slang of base-counting.

I propose a new science, Babermetrics (from baseball’s “sabermetrics”) that can more truly capture the multifaceted and complex experience of hooking up.

Some sample Babermetrics statistics:

BRI—Babes Reeled In, a rather conventional measurement that tallies the number of sexual encounters, quite similar to baseball’s RBI (Runs Batted In) statistic. BRI is a statistic that doesn’t truly account for consistency or performance, but should be noted for its raw counting value.
Hypothetical Example: Wilt Chamberlain has the highest-known career BRI total, claiming over 10,000 sexual encounters over his lifetime.

Used in a Sentence: “Last year, Sal’s BRI was the lowest total of his career. Leaving college is a likely factor as well as the accumulation of a gratuitous beer gut and residence in his parent’s basement.”

Bar Factor—like sabermetrics’ “park factor,” a statistical device use to measure the impact of a particular stadium’s characteristics on performance, Bar Factor is an effective statistic that measures performance at a certain venue relative to another.
Hypothetical Example: College is the ultimate example of the Bar Factor; it’s a realm maintaining a distinct set of characteristics uniquely tailored to hooking up.
Used in a Sentence: “Janet, I don’t think I’m going to go to library fundraiser tonight. The Bar Factor simply isn’t high enough; I’m going to O’Halligans!”

VORB—Value Over Replacement-level Barfly. Akin to Kevin Woolner’s VORP (Value Over Replacement-level player), VORB measures the relative value of a particular mate in relationship to the value of an average (or replacement-level) hook up.
Hypothetical Example: The majority of the student population at any Northeastern-region private college will likely hover right around replacement level, where the average VORB in NYC’s Meatpacking District remains very high due to the high concentration of patrons who work as models.
Used in a Sentence: “Winslow, the VORB at this nightclub is way too high for me to even talk to anybody without getting a drink splashed in my face. I’m going to O’Halligans!”

OPS—Opportunities Plus Sexual encounters, a clean interpretation of sabermetrics’ OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging), a statistic used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of a given player’s offensive production. In Babermetrics, a tool used to provide an accurate approximation of sexual effectiveness, combining both “opportunities” (first base and above, as defined in the Babermetrics Almanac) with total number of sexual encounters.
Hypothetical Example: As in baseball, the man or woman with the highest OPS is likely the most productive performer.
Used in a Sentence: “Tucker Max, due to your sizeable dip in OPS, our publishing company no longer sees you as a credible literary voice, despite the preposterous embellishment of your stories.”

Though I’ve decided to pull out some statistics that best illustrate the need for a revolution in the statistical analysis of hooking up, it should be mentioned that there are numerous other structural similarities between baseball and sex that have long gone unrecognized.

For instance, in college baseball, the NCAA allows the hitters to use aluminum bats; it’s hard not to get a hit, and it’s an unrealistic representation of baseball’s professional world, where MLB mandates that hitters use the heavier, power-dampening wooden bats. Such an analogy is rather pliant to the departure from the unrealistic bubble of college and joining the population at large.

However, there’s a notable difference between the world of baseball and the world of hooking up—hooking up doesn’t have an offseason.

As the calendar crawls toward another baseball season’s conclusion, America’s singles will still be wearing slutty bee costumes for Halloween, sidling up to the previously unapproachable co-ed from the Creative Department at the office Christmas Party, still playing “empty the Solo cup” at football tailgates for respective alma maters.

It’s time to fill a void. Welcome to the playground of new science.

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