- Push the Outfield Walls way back;
- Pitchers and Batters and Catchers wear shoes; Fielders wear rollerblades
Playing baseball on skates has a long history. Ice baseball used to be common back in the nineteenth century. Modern baseball’s rule of running through first base supposedly comes from wearing ice skates. Rollerblade baseball too used to be played sometimes.
Roller baseball and ice baseball seem like fun sports to bring back. There are two basic ways to play them: with all players wearing skates, or with all players except for pitchers and batters (and catchers) wearing skates.
Both ways might be good, but I think the second option is best, for several reasons:
– if pitchers and batters are wearing skates, the game becomes more like softball or stickball than baseball. (There’s nothing wrong with softball or stickball of course, but I prefer baseball..)
– non-skate-wearing hitters and pitchers will produce harder hits, which, combined with the fact that all other fielders will be wearing skates, allows you to push the outfield walls way back. This in turn will mean a game with many more highlight-reel fielding plays and running plays, in contrast to modern baseball which is a game mainly of strikeouts, shallow home runs and routine fielding outs
– if base runners are wearing skates, it will be much harder to get outs (so baseball games would become even longer than they already are) and easier for injuries to take place
By pushing the outfield walls back and putting everyone except for pitchers, hitters, and catchers on roller skates, you get a sport which is more exciting (more and better fielding, more running), but still fundamentally unchanged (the contest between pitcher and hitter being the fundamental aspect of baseball). You might also get a much shorter game than normal baseball, because of the bigger outfield and the ability of roller-fielders to range further into foul territory to catch pop ups. The sport would have more exciting, quicker, and yet still authentic way of playing baseball.
You could, in theory, even have the fans’ stands raised at least 7 feet or so above the ground, allowing the fielders to skate underneath the stands to catch foul ball pop ups spectacularly behind them.