The first time I went paintballing I went to a field. A field is like a screened in arena with a shop adjacent, to rent or buy gear and stuff. At a paintball field there are referees to assign fair teams and keep order. You get tagged and your out, shooting at close range and your out, etc. The first time I played I had paid admission ($25), rented all my gear ($50) and was psyched as hell to finally play (priceless). As I stood there ready to be placed in my first team the ref said “Ok, every one with rental guns on this side and all the regulars with your own guns on this side.” I was in total disbelief as I stood there on the opposite side of the field looking at fifteen guys with shiny new automatic, high-powered, rapid-fire, CO2 powered paintball guns and me with my shitty single fire pump-gun. Long story short the “renters” got creamed and that was pretty much how the rest of day went. All of us with or inaccurate, single-fire, crap guns getting wasted by guys who did this every weekend and could shoot us from well out of range with total accuracy. You could have been friggin’ Rambo and lost. Was it fair? Hell no. Did I ever go back? Same answer.
Seems like a reasonable solution to the problem right? I mean the way they operated their field wasn’t fair so I didn’t play there anymore. Apparently major league baseball thinks differently on the matter of unfair competition. The issue, of course, is steroids. After all sorts of scandals, court cases, and player suspensions the MLB is being spanked by lawmakers to clean up its act. Despite the national leagues saying they will take care of it the feds may get involved anyway because, well lets be honest, they haven’t done jack to fix the problem.
The proposal went like this: first violation of drug use the player gets a 10, maybe 50, day suspension. Second offense the player is suspended from 30 days to 100 games. Third strike and the player faces 60 days to a lifetime ban. Notice that nothing was said about any record books or Hall of Fame (not yet anyway). Of course after the baseball commissioner’s thought about this they came back saying, “Well, maybe 20 days on the first offense but no mean old lifetime ban.” This was swiftly rejected of course and rightly so.
Damn it! Remember when a major league player was thought of as a really exceptional, hard working athlete. Then you find out Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro were hopped up on drugs to perform like they did. Every game they ever played in is now under question. Who should have really won those games? Should this player be allowed to keep any of his awards? Should he be fined for playing while using steroids? Gee, let me think…Hmmmmm. Well, maybe we should let any cheater keep their ill-gotten spoils.
Remember the snowboarder who competed in the winter Olympic games and was later found to have used marijuana the night before he competed? He had to give his medal back and not even for using a performance-enhancing drug. I feel that if you get busted for using any kind of steroid there should be some incredibly harsh punishments. For instance, a player is busted on a drug test he gets an appeal to see if there is any reasonable explanation (I don’t know maybe the blood samples got switched in the lab) but regardless he is removed from the field until the matter is solved. If he is found guilty then he is either kept from ever winning any awards including entry into the Hall of Fame, his record voided and his salary is capped as low as the lowest paid person on the team. If he wants to be transferred he will be kept at that salary for the rest of his career. Essentially the player is blackballed. ‘Course you could just void their contract and send ‘em packing.
Am I being too harsh? I don’t think so. Cheating is cheating no matter if you use a dirt bike to win the Kentucky Derby or if you use steroids to get the edge on your competition. It is un-sportsman like and should have punishments too harsh to make it worth even thinking about. I don’t want to see sports heroes get busted. I just want to see players who are on even footing. Otherwise you’re just watching a group of “renters” getting pummeled.