It's a disgusting habit. It smells, stains your teeth, and causes cancer. It's unsightly and sets a bad example. That's why senators have begged Major League Baseball and teams to stop the use of chewing and dip tobacco during games. For the last two years, senators have sent memos to both teams playing in the World Series pleading for no tobacco on the field or in the dugout. It hasn't worked.
It's impossible not to see the people behind this movement's point. Tobacco companies get millions of dollars of free advertising during baseball's most watched event every single year. And they don't pay a dime for ads, not that they're allowed to.
When a star player is shown on TV with a big dip in his lower lip, it can influence a young fan. Believe me, I know. The deadly, addictive product is already on its way to hooking another unsuspecting customer. Target them young, the motto of the sleazy tobacco companies. Let's get it off our TV.
It's a great thought. But when I first heard that baseball was considering ridding the game of tobacco I thought, "Sure, right after they get rid of hats."
I don't mean to be flip about something that is killing thousands of people every year. However, it's every single tobacco user's personal choice to engage in dipping. It just so happens Major League Baseball players are some of Skoal's best customers.
Tobacco and baseball have gone hand-in-hand since Doubleday was designing the playing field in the mid-1800's. It's every kind of tobacco; Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio used to smoke cigarettes in the dugout. Smoking I can see getting rid of, others are effected by its users. But dipping isn't effecting anyone but the person putting the Copenhagen in their mouth.
Getting rid of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level is a futile effort. Telling a grown man, some who are making eight figures, not to use dip is barking up the wrong tree. Despite kid's looking up to players doing it, this culture cannot be changed. Like Charles Barkley said, "I am not a role model." It's not a baseball players fault if someone tries smokeless tobacco to try to be like them. That's as outrageous as banning it all together.
There are certain precautions baseball has been taking. Chew and dip are banned at the college and minor league level. That's about all they can do. In a fantasy world, no one would be on TV showcasing chewing tobacco to a nation. In a fantasy world, no one would be using it at all. But in reality, it is a part of Major League Baseball. A big part. And it's not going anywhere any time soon.