About Baseball Banning Tobacco

In the ripple effect of Stephen Strasburg saying that he’s dropping the habit of chewing tobacco, Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has added that all of baseball should ban tobacco.

This was originally going to be a post about letting guys do what they want–and how anything can give you cancer these days. But I’ve changed my mind, I think.

Chewing tobacco, and more namely; snuff, is a horrible addiction. Do you want to know why it’s horrible? It’s horrible because you love doing it so much. At least, those who are ‘addicted’ to it do. And I’ve never been addicted to anything in my life. Nothing else that I’ve tried is something I couldn’t just stop.

But I lay in bed sometimes at night and I wonder if I will ever find the reason to stop chewing for good.

I know that time is running short. I have been chewing since I started playing college baseball–actually the summer before that. And I look at the year and I realize it’s been nearly a decade give or take. It’s time to give it up for good. Like, really. It’s time. So I circle the date on my calendar: September 3rd, 2011. That’s the day I never touch the junk again. That’s the day of my wedding. And I hope it won’t be too late. I’ll quit for my wife to be. But really I’ll quit for me.

I just hope and pray that I really mean it this time.

That said, I want to make the point that I don’t know if I would have been a dipper had it not been part of the whole ‘baseball creed’. I lived in a house full of about 25 or 30 jocks in college. I’d say that a good 80% of them enjoyed an occasional chew. Half of them enjoyed it like I did. And like I do. All of the time. They weren’t all baseball players, but many of them were.

Whether we were at team study tables, crushing shots/pounding pints at the local watering hole, staying up all night playing cards, playing video games or just down at the field working out; we were chewing something that produced that brown spit.

And it became part of a lifestyle that I wish I would have never let into my life. Like I said, I do like it. It helps me focus. I see how it becomes an addicting thing to do. But I’m not a baseball player anymore. And to be honest if no big league guys had ever made the choice to use the stuff I doubt that it would have made it’s way into our baseball playing culture long ago. But unfortunately it did and I fell prey to it.

So I back what Craig Calcaterra said instead of going against it.

If you’ve ever chewed–don’t do it again. If you never have started, please don’t ever try it. This isn’t a PSA, and anyone who reads this blog knows that I try and tell it like it is the best I can. It’s just a long and winding road that you don’t want to go down.