Boston has joined San Francisco in banning chewing tobacco in all ballparks, including Major League Ballparks like Fenway.
The move is, I believe, part of a push to force the Major League Baseball Players’ Association to accept a league-wide ban on chewing tobacco. Chewing tobacco is already banned by the NCAA and in Minor League Baseball. MLB can’t ban chewing tobacco on the field or in the dugouts without the cooperation of the MLB Players’ Association. The issue of chew is set to be negotiated between the Players’ Association and MLB during the next contract discussions this off-season.
This legislation, which will take effect in April 2016, won’t really affect fans, because tobacco use is already banned within the stadium, according to the Boston Globe. It is a somewhat symbolic measure directed at the players and coaches on the field and in the dugouts.
In addition to San Francisco and Boston, the city of L.A. is considering a similar ban, which would affect players and coaches chewing at Dodger Stadium. There is also a bill in the California State Assembly to ban it all ballparks in the entire state.
From the Boston Globe article:
“These great baseball cities have set a powerful example that should be quickly followed by all of Major League Baseball,” said a statement from Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Chewing tobacco is deeply entrenched in the culture of baseball. One recent survey showed that about 30 percent of baseball players chew tobacco, while only about 7 percent of men overall chew.
Red Sox owner John Henry supports the ban. It will be interesting to see if David Ortiz will drop the chew once the ban takes effect next year. Ortiz is beloved in Boston for not putting up with authority and he is a known chewer.