Who still cares about baseball? The game eulogized so well in Field of Dreams barely exists anymore. Believing in the heroes of modern baseball is like believing fat-free cheese tastes the same as real cheese. You’d have to be dumb as a brick to be unaware of the existence of vast, unpronounceable chemical substances that help the fake thing masquerade as the real thing.
So here’s my idea for making it pure again:
Make performance-enhancing drugs illegal. All of them. No hormones, no steroids, no nothing. If poor baby gets a cold and needs to play on Saturday, do what Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron probably did—have a nip of whiskey and just freakin’ do it, or sit your ass on the bench and watch the healthy players duke it out. This is not a complicated concept, and I am not asking anyone to do something that has not already been done. It’s how the game has been played for most of its existence.
Institute random checks for all illegal substances. The check could come at any time or any place. If any of the banned substances are found in a player’s body, he forfeits all salary he has received from the day he signed his first contract. A third-year player who has made 1.5 million dollars? Give back 1.5 million dollars and you’re banned for life from baseball. Don’t have 1.5 million dollars? Well, don’t cheat, or prepare to have your ass sued, assets seized, whatever it takes. The player contract would need to have these provisos written in, of course, before they signed. I refuse to let these fuckers off the hook because they have a good laywer. In fact, make them sign a clause saying they will not contest any fine that ensues from a positive drug test.
Can you imagine what would happen to guys who got caught ten years into their career? What about Barry Bonds? Dude could single-handedly refurbish the entire Tenderloin with what he’d have to give back. It’s totally fitting, considering the disrespect it shows fans and the game itself when these guys pump themselves full of shit they can’t pronounce. My dad could hit 50 homers a year if given the right roids. I don’t want to pay to see somebody do something I could do if given the same obliging doctor and pharmacist. I want to pay to see something amazing, something natural, something that’s the product of God-given talent and practice….not a hypodermic needle.
If players blame team coaches or owners for pressuring them, just look for the paper trail of emails, texts, doctor’s charts or signed authorizations. There is always a paper trail. Find proof of coercion, and then take the coach and/or owner’s salary, too.
All seized funds would be spread among charities in that team’s city. Each team would have to provide a list of acceptable charities, approved before all these rules go into effect, and the charities would have to be investigated to make sure no one affiliated with the team is in charge of handling the money or on the board. The disgraced player, coach or owner may be given the option to name which charity/charities the money would go to. It was their money, after all.
There are still plenty of details to be worked out, of course…I’m just thinking out loud. But I really like this idea. It means that everything we see is real. Every home run and stolen base is genuine. The assholes who just want to pump themselves full of drugs can go find a bodybuilding contest to enter. The ones who want to play can do just that.