When used as directed chewing tobacco kills. The warnings are right there on the side of the tin. None of the warnings stopped former baseball stars Tony Gwynn or Curt Schilling from dipping throughout their big league careers.
Tony Gwynn is considered one of baseball's greatest hitters. In 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres Gwynn won eight batting titles and was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2007. Tony Gwynn was talked openly about his nearly lifelong addiction to chewing tobacco, which led to oral cancer and his death last June at age 54.
Just last week former major league pitching star Curt Schilling announced that his oral cancer was due to years of chewing tobacco. Both stories have led to renewed calls for baseball to ban chewing tobacco by folks like Keith Oblermann:
Baseball and smokeless tobacco have a long association (some might say oral fixation) unlike any other professional sport. The image of a baseball player of manager with a "puffed out" cheek is as commonplace as pine tar and eye black at the ballpark. Why baseball and not other sports? Good question. It's hard to picture an NFL running back or NBA point guard with a wad of Levi Garrett. Maybe it's because baseball involves so much down time whether in the dugout or on the field between pitches?
Tradition is not the reason to allow chewing tobacco in professional baseball. In fact minor league baseball has banned chewing tobacco for over 20 years with little impact.
Personally I'm against any baseball chewing tobacco ban, believing adults should be able to make their own decisions. Which begs the question; why are we still marketing "tobacco alternatives"such as Big League Chew bubble gum to kids?
There's an interesting story behind the Big League Chew, which was developed by former major league pitcher Jim Bouton after he was disgusted seeing his minor league teammates spitting away.
Big League Chew comes shredded in a stay fresh pouch. Kids can reach in and pinch several strands of bubble gum before placing in their mouth along their cheek. Sound familiar?
I understand that Big League Chew has redesigned the package while signing on some major league endorsers. It still sends the wrong message. Adults can make their own decisions. With kids, image is everything.
Should major league baseball ban chewing tobacco? Thank you for reading. I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments section and would love it if you like us on Facebook.
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