A second, more high-profile player has announced he is quitting chew because of the death from cancer of Tony Gwynn. Stephen Strasburg, star pitcher for the Washington Nationals announced this week he is also quitting chew.
Tony Gwynn, a lifelong chewer, died last week of salivary gland cancer, which prompted the call from numerous people for MLB to ban chewing tobacco on the field. Chew on the field is banned in college and the minor leagues, but the Players’ Association won’t allow MLB to ban it at the highest level. For some mystifying reason that I don’t understand, chew seems to be a big part of baseball culture.
Gwynn, who was only 54 when he died, blamed his chewing on his cancer (the cancer showed up on the same side of the mouth as where he always chewed). Strasburg (like Addison Reed, who also announced this week he will quit chew) played for Tony Gwynn when he was a star at San Diego State University.
According to MLB:
“I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it,” the Nationals right-hander said on Monday. “I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn’t think it was going to be such an addiction. … Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life. [Chewing tobacco is] so prevalent in this game. It’s something we all kind of grew up doing.”
Congrats to Stephen and I wish him luck in quitting.