Nice story from the Washington Post about the Nationals’ All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond. I think I’ve mentioned before that the Washington Post is one of the most anti-tobacco newspapers I’ve seen out there.
As we all know, baseball has a huge chew problem, which begins way back in high school. The minor leagues have banned players using chew during games, but MLB, while it has been discussed from time to time, has never taken action to stop players from chewing tobacco during games. For some reason, chew is deeply ingrained in the culture of baseball.
Anyway, Ian Desmond decided to quit chewing this past offseason. In this story, he admits that it has been difficult to quit. Keep in mind, chew has nicotine just like cigarettes and is just as physically addicting as cigarettes. A few excerpts from the Washington Post story:
He sent his mother, Pattie Paradise, a text message from inside the clubhouse. “I’m having a hard time,” he wrote. Having pleaded with him to stop for years, Paradise sent back, “You can do it.”
After Soriano fooled Jason Heyward with a nervy, 3-2 slider to strand two runners, Desmond retreated to the clubhouse. By the time Desmond stood in front of reporters, he had made it through the day without a dip.
“That was a bigger victory than beating the Braves,” Desmond said. “I’ve done it for a long time. I’m really trying hard to quit.”
Desmond could celebrate a win and an achievement. He stopped dipping before December and made it through spring training for the first time since he became a professional 10 years ago at 18. Desmond admitted he broke down Saturday night and packed his lip. But he viewed it as a small hurdle.
“That was back on the wagon, off the wagon,” Desmond said. “It’s not easy. I feel for people who have to deal with this stuff on a larger scale. I’m not proud that it’s got that control over me. But I’m fighting it.
“I hate to say this because I know there’s going to be kids that hear this. For me, growing up, it was part of the game. That’s what it was. When I put my uniform on, I feel like that’s part of what I need to put on. It just goes with the job, for me. I’m trying to shake it off.”
Desmond mother practically begged him not to dip Sunday morning. He had listened, and then he blasted the biggest home run of the Nationals’ first week. It may have been a coincidence, but Desmond will hold on to it. “That’s incentive enough right there,” he said.
Good job, Ian. Good luck. Hope youhave more success at quitting than Terry Francona.
Ian’s decision to quit prompted a letter to the editor from James T. Currie from the Public Health Service congratulating him.