Monday, January 31, 2011
Don't Smokeless Up Johnny!!!!!
Here at BBIMH we aim to keep it light most of the time. We try to be funny, informative, fresh, and insightful. None of us take ourselves too seriously. After all even though it is a baseball blog and Josh, Chip, and I are all very passionate about the sport, none of us thinks our writing is going to cure world hunger. Truth be told our writing probably couldn't even cure Rob Dibble of a bad hair cut and saying inane things on television. We're not miracle workers.
But I digress.
Lets get serious for a moment. I'd like to talk about smokeless tobacco in major league baseball. Craig Calcattera posted on "Hardball Talk" this morning that Stephen Strasberg is trying to quit smokeless tobacco after discovering his college coach Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn had parotid cancer. Now I'm not trying to scale Mt. Moral Highground but isn't it about time that the MLB banned smokeless tobacco in the Bigs? The minor leagues already have a ban on smokeless tobacco. It just seems like the next logical step. My God some places are still selling Big League Chew bubblegum for crying out loud! Give me some Heroin Hi-C and Cocaine Cookies and I'll be good to go.
In an era when people who use tobacco of any kind aren't permitted to endulge in most public places, why does it still persist in pro sports? I'm probably going to sound like my father here but these are the guys (right or wrong) that children look up to. If you asked most major leaguers I think the majority of them would not want kids to emulate their use of smokeless tobacco.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to dismiss personal accountability here. The decision to use smokeless tobacco is a personal choice. It is ultimately up to parents to warn their children about the dangers of tobacco use. But let's not bury our heads in a pile of used HGH syringes either. At 13, 14, 15 boys are more likely to look to their baseball heroes for guidance (even from afar) than their parents. Sad but true.
Strasberg incidentally said something interesting about quitting: "It's going to hard because it's something that's embedded in the game." Although an obvious statement it is also very accurate. Smokeless tobacco is as much a part of baseball as hot dogs, purpose pitches, or the suicide squeeze. Just like spit and scuffed balls it is time for smokeless tobacco to go the way of Bartolo Colon's offseason workout regimen...that is to say away.
Unfortunately the banning of smokeless tobacco is something for the collective bargaining table. Bud Selig can't just make a unilateral decision to ban smokeless tobacco as much as I'd like him too. It's up to the players to make the right call on this one.
And just so I can end this post on a light note I'd like to respond to one thing Calcattera stated in his article. He wrote, "How do these guys manage to keep girlfriends with that crap in their mouths?"
Craig, I can't give a universal answer on this one but I'm pretty sure that Icebreaker Mints, trips to Tiffany's, and Benjamins hanging out of their front pants might have something to do with it.