Major League Baseball players have been chewing tobacco forever. But now, in the superficially politically correct health-conscious, but actually just really drunk society we live in, MLB and union officials want to ban tobacco in baseball.
The discussion on a prohibition on chewing tobacco is a result of congressional hearing concerning the “habit’s health hazards and influence on youth.” Somehow, steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, as well as other more serious recreational drugs (see Darryl Strawberry for details) were left out of said conversation.
The use of tobacco products was banned in the minor league system in 1993. However, no such ruling was issued for the majors. The issue will be part of negotiations for baseball’s labor contract that is due to expire in December 2011. Current statistics say estimate that “approximately, maybe one-third of big leaguers chew tobacco,” which sparks fears that “young fans are subliminally inclined to copy their heroes’ habit.”
Among those in favor of the ban is former catcher and peer pressure sympathizer Joe Garagiola. Garagiola admitted that, “Like many generations of major-league players, I started using spit tobacco because I saw other players doing it and I thought it was part of being a major-league player. This is a dangerous, deadly habit.” Additionally, if all the other players jumped off of the Brooklyn Bridge, he would, too. For overkill, if Garagiola was a golfer, he’d have committed adultery because responsibility for making a decision yourself is silly and should not be accepted in any way, shape or form by anybody.
On the opposition side, David Prouty, chief counsel for the MLB Baseball Player’s Association, argues that players “should not be prohibitied from uses substances that are perfectly legal and available to the general public.” That’s right, folks. Tobacco = legal, but perhaps should be banned from baseball, while steroids = illegal, and perhaps should be as strictly prohibited from the game as possible, but not while tobacco can be the more universally hated by all. Boo tobacco!
Rep. Henry Waxman of California doesn’t care that tobacco is legal. “We don’t let baseball players go stand out in the field and drink beer. The MLB Association won’t let them stand out there and smoke cigarettes.” Little does Waxman know about what is in some of those water bottles.
Chewing tobacco has been proven to cause cancer in the mouth and throat, as well as leading to tooth decay and gum disease. What is not proven, however, is if America’s youth will emulate every action of their favorite baseball players. Who knows if their ADD will even allow them to notice that some players are not chewing gum or spitting sunflower seeds, but are indulging in a product far less performance-enhancing than the real problem in baseball.