After the news that Tony Gwynn died of salivary gland cancer, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Addison Reed announced he is quitting chewing tobacco.
Reed, who played for Gwynn at San Diego State, said he threw away seven cans of chew out of his locked and two more out of his car after he learned of Gwynn’s death.
“It’s one of those things where I’ve done it for so long it’s just become a habit, a really bad habit,” Reed said Saturday. “It was something I always told myself I would quit, like next month, and the next thing you know it’s been six or seven years.”
Reed said he began chewing as a junior in high school. But, he started chewing in earnest when he became a professional ballplayer.
“It started to get bad my first year in pro ball and it’s one of those things where I’ve always done it,” Reed said. “I’d come to the field and throw one in and have multiple ones. I’d have one on the ride home, one on the way to the field and it was one of those things where I always had one with me.”
Let’s hope a bunch more ballplayers follow Reed’s lead. Chew is a bizarre habit that for some mysterious reason has somehow become deeply ingrained in the culture of baseball and it’s time to break that culture. Chew is already banned on the field in college baseball and minor league baseball, but the Player’s Association is resisting calls to ban it on the field in MLB.