The game of baseball is one of the great traditions of the United States of America. You certainly don’t earn the nickname “America’s National Pastime” without a pretty damn solid foundation of support across the country. That isn’t to say, though, that it’s completely and universally beloved in the United States. Though many are raised into baseball fandom through their parents, or picking it up from growing up in such a dominant market as New York for the Yankees or Boston for the Red Sox, there are still those who never quite get taken in fully. Full disclosure: I am one of those people. Despite my father’s best efforts, I was much more focused on the chicken tender options at Camden Yards than I was with the game underway, and I was more likely to watch the Simpsons' baseball episodes than the World Series.

Baseball does have a bit of a reputation as an “in or out” game, one that you’re either all in on or one that’s met with near total indifference. It’s a famously hard game to approach as a new fan, due to some opaque rules, both written and unwritten, years of tradition, and, unavoidably, the fact that baseball games are really, really long. Even the most bloated, commercial-filled NFL games usually clock in at around 3 hours, and NBA can be even less than that. The MLB, however, takes its sweet ass time.

Skeleton

Pixabay

Oh good, extra innings.

Many are afraid that baseball’s glacial pace may be costing it new generations of fans, especially ones that can watch approximately 840 TikToks in the same time as a single game. And why wouldn’t they? Even the best teams in the MLB will have a hard time competing against that many videos of tiny Chihuahuas set over Cotton-Eyed-Joe. Articles going back over a decade have suggestions on how to shorten the game, most common among them things like pitch timers and limits on mound visits. Of course, stalwart traditionalists react to this with the fury of a dad realizing you’re adjusting the thermostat. Batters and pitchers staring each other down for a minute and a half before throwing another 4-seam fastball anyways is essential to the experience, and gives the elderly attendees time to scribble the count into a tiny scorecard with a golf pencil.

Perhaps part of what’s made the game feel so long in the modern era is the evolution it’s undergone at the same time. Many viewers have complained that changes made over the past few years have decreased how hitter-friendly the league is. Whether coincidence or confirmation, it’s true that this year, the league-wide batting average is the worst in history. Detractors point to the prevalence of the shift, the use of humidors to store baseballs, and even the baseballs themselves as the culprits, but whatever the truth is, the numbers don’t lie: players are hitting less dingers. And people love, above all else, to see someone smack a dinger.

I have another idea, however, to make baseball games must-watch TV again. One that even baseball traditionalists can’t argue against, as it’s pulled directly from baseball’s storied history. Not from the official records books, or an announcer’s dry mental statistics database. Something that comes from a time that baseball briefly touched the divine, the inexplicable. An occurrence so magical that it rivals the time Randy Johnson made a pigeon explode with a pitch. One of the sports’ greatest ever single-game performances, by a hero named Dock Ellis.

I’m talking, of course, about the no-hitter thrown by Pittsburgh’s Dock Ellis against the San Diego Padres, while Dock was, by his own description, “high as a Georgia pine” off LSD. Now, if you’re not a big baseball fan, a no-hitter is very, very rare. They’ve only happened about 300 times in MLB history. Dock Ellis joined that prestigious club while absolutely zooted on acid.

Now, here’s the tragedy–even though Dock’s particular mind-state wasn’t revealed until years after the game was completed, when it was, it was simply added to the history books as one of baseball’s great tales, and shut away in the freezer. Instead, the occurrence should have been further looked into and researched. In professional sports, players and coaches are constantly looking for any possible advantage, whether it be through stealing plays, deflating footballs, or performance enhancing drugs. Why was no further exploration made into whether LSD itself could be a performance enhancing drug?

Angels in psychedelic landscape

Pixabay

From left to right: Umpire, Catcher, Batter.

After all, as far as I know, and can find, this is the only recorded game in which a pitcher was on acid. Which means that 100 percent of baseball games pitched on acid have been a no-hitter. You’re telling me even a tanking team isn’t willing to give that a try? I understand that even if it were to work, the idea of a pitcher being on acid every game, especially when there’s approximately four thousand baseball games in a season, is a recipe for melted synapses. But if you were to find that acid was a pitcher’s secret weapon, one that you could deploy on certain, impactful games? Now there’s a whole new level of strategy here.

Now, acid, as we all know, is not legal. But neither are steroids, and those are responsible for some of the most exciting periods in baseball history. Regardless, it’s understandable that the MLB wouldn’t be able to brazenly say that their pitchers are on acid. So, we add this new wrinkle into the deep book of baseball’s unwritten rules. While we’re at it, let’s REQUIRE it once a year, once per pitcher.

Here’s my rule proposition: “Each pitcher must, in one game a season, be absolutely tripping balls off acid during a game. The pitcher and their team is not required to disclose this detail to the opposition or the officials prior to the game. If the opposing team suspects the pitcher is on LSD during their game, they are permitted to try to send them into a ‘bad trip’ by use of strange chants, going up to bat while wearing a scary mask, etc.”

Not only is this good for the game in that it adds a whole new layer of game decision-making, in which games to deploy the LSD strategy, which pitchers hold it together the best. If you’re starting to think the opposing pitcher is tripping, now you do have the option to go up to the plate in a wolfman outfit, but if you’re wrong, now you’ve put YOURSELF at a disadvantage in this highly inconvenient costume.

Most of all, baseball’s viewership problem? Absolutely fixed. Because no one’s ever missing a game when they don’t know if it could be the acid game.

Top Image: Pixabay/Pixabay

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