Op-ed: To Improve Baseball, Bring Back Trapdoors, Add Waterslides

Let's face it, folks: baseball is a mess, and it's only getting worse. Players have resorted to "stealing" bases from each other, multiple baseballs are lost per inning, and the halftime shows are a complete joke. Ever since Oklahoma City's Ralph "Mayo" Gonzalez took an extended bathroom break in game 5, the MLB has been on indefinite standby as they wait for Mayo to emerge from the gender-neutral single stall in the locker room to resume play. While commentators and fans alike see this as the death of baseball, I think this bathroom break presents a great opportunity to make baseball more fun for the viewers and more stressful for the players.

Maybe this baseball player wouldn't be sitting down if he knew there was a trapdoor underneath.

As we all know, the baseball field was originally meant to be an obstacle course, with one "pitcher" throwing balls at players as they tried to make it all the way around the field without getting hit. They also had to watch out for umpires, who controlled a sequence of trapdoors on the field. If the umpires didn't like what they saw, they tried to catch the players in the traps so they could be disciplined. In practice, this worked well until the 1903 World Series where Chicago Cubs' outfielder Fofo "Martini" Molini accidentally got stuck in a malfunctioning trapdoor, causing him to lose his vision and ending his side-career as a baseball player. Today, the bylaws have changed so that the trapdoors are now "bases" and the teams now compete against each other, rather than the umpires. It's time to go back to the golden age of baseball when hidden trapdoors determined whom would win.

While we're at it, why not add in a couple waterslides? The NBA did that after a ratings slump in '05 and it's a blast to watch. Seeing basketball players catapult themselves from the dunk tank all the way down the court to the free throw line never gets old. I will admit, though, the moon bounce in the center of the court is a bit much. Maybe just a travel-sized trampoline, or even a small moon bounce?

These are just two ideas to significantly improve baseball. We should act quickly, though. Mayo has said that he's only gonna be in there for a couple more minutes.

Nate Odenkirk is a freelance baseball commentator and is next in line for the restroom.

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