Surprised me a bit that these two would step into this issue, but I thought it was great. The city of San Francisco banned chewing tobacco recently at all sporting venues (It won’t actually take effect until Jan. 1, 2016), including at the Giants’ stadium, AT&T Park. This means that not only fans can’t chew in the park, but players can’t either.
World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and manager Bruce Bochy expressed their support for the move last week.
From a Los Angeles Times article:
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy applauded the decision: “It’s a step in the right direction,” he told the team’s website. “I think it can be a good thing. It’s going to be hard to enforce. It’s a tough habit to break.”
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner also supported the law. “Hopefully it will be a positive thing for us players. It’s not an easy thing to stop doing, but I support the city.”
There is also a bill winding its way through the California Assembly to ban chewing tobacco at all ballparks in the state, which would include AT&T, Dodger Stadium, Petco in San Diego, the Oakland Coliseum and the L.A. Angels’ stadium.
Major League Baseball is under increasing pressure to ban chewing tobacco in all ballparks, especially since the death of Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer (Tony blamed chew for his death and another high-profile player, Curt Schilling, recently underwent treatment for oral cancer which he also blamed on chewing tobacco.). For some mysterious reason, there is a culture of chew deeply embedded in baseball culture. Not only have quite a few ballplayers over the years died of oral or throat cancer (Babe Ruth is the most well-known), but it sets a bad example for teenage baseball players.
However, MLB can’t simply ban chew by players on the field without the approval of the Players’ Association. A chewing tobacco ban is expected to be one of the topics of negotiation between MLB and the Players’ Association in their next contract.
Chew is already banned in all minor league and NCAA baseball parks, so it’s not like there isn’t any precedent.