There are few traditions in the sport of baseball more synonymous with the game than players chewing tobacco. It’s a practice that has been going on for nearly a century, and while it may have started as a way for pitchers to throw a better spitball or infielders to lubricate their mouths in a dusty environment, it has little value today, is totally gross, and could kill you if overused.
Because of this, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is pushing for a ban on smokeless tobacco at all professional, collegiate, high school and amateur sports venues in Boston, including Fenway Park.
“A lot of times, young people will copy what their sports heroes do, and clearly there is a connection between chewing tobacco and cancer,” Walsh said in an interview. “This sends a strong message throughout Boston, and hopefully many other towns around Boston, and across the country.”
Of the 58 players invited to Red Sox spring training last year, 21 admitted using smokeless tobacco, which is a pretty significant amount. And it’s likely that number is similar to the overall percentage numbers in the major and minor leagues. Although teams in recent years have been providing bubble gum and sunflower seeds as a way to attempt to limit their players use of smokeless tobacco, it still remains a major problem among ball players.
If the ordinance is passed through city council, Boston would become the second city in the country (after San Francisco) to ban smokeless tobacco at ballparks.
While some major leaguers may be upset with Walsh over the proposed ban, at least he didn’t congratulate them on winning the World Series Cup.
(Via The Boston Globe)