Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Los Angeles bans chewing tobacco at ballparks, including Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium

Professor Farnsworth says, Big news, everyone!

The city of Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the country, just banned chewing tobacco at all athletic venues. This includes Dodger Stadium. And this includes ballplayers … on the field.

L.A. is the third major city to ban chewing tobacco at ballparks — the first two being San Francisco and Boston. I’m pretty sure chewing tobacco has long since been banned in the stands, but it’ll be interesting to see if they actually enforce these laws against players and coaches (and managers, etc.).

In essence, I think these are basically symbolic gestures, because I honestly can’t imagine cops running out on the field to write tickets to players with an obvious chaw in their cheek. Symbolic because MLB has actually made it pretty clear it wants to ban chew on the field and in the dugouts, but the Players’ Association is fighting it.

Before you scream, “FREEEEDOM!”, keep in mind that chew has long been banned by the NCAA and in the Minor Leagues. The only reason it’s allowed at the Major League level is because the Players’ Association hasn’t agreed to  a ban. I expect it to be seriously negotiated during the next collective bargaining agreement, though I can’t predict how that will turn out.

schilling and tony
Curt Schilling and Tony Gwynn.

Banning chew at the MLB is a real issue, I believe. Studies have shown that baseball players at every level — high school, college, Minor League, freaking American Legion even — use chew at a higher level than non-ballplayers. Chew is weirdly deeply ingrained in the culture of baseball. No one understands why or how, but all they know is … there it is.

Banning chew in baseball gained traction when Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, a longtime chewer, died of salivary gland cancer in his early 50s. Then, shortly after his death, longtime chewer Curt Schilling announced he was battling oral cancer. Schilling seems to be doing well, other than occasionally being kind of an insufferable Muslim-hating asshole. (Seriously, dude, I’m honestly glad you are beating cancer and thank you for the bloody sock game and thank you for your anti-chew advocacy, but Jesus, you cheated death … learn to drop your bullshit about 1.6 million Muslims. Guess what? Muslims love Jesus, too. And maybe that’s what got you demoted at ESPN and maybe that’s a reason you can’t quite get in the Hall of Fame. Karma … it’s not just for Buddhists.)


Los Angeles may be next to ban chew at ballparks

I love L.A.

San Francisco recently banned chewing tobacco at all ballparks, including AT&T Park (to take effect in January 2016). Now, Los Angeles may be next.

A Los Angeles City Councilman has proposed a bill similar to San Francisco’s to ban chewing tobacco at all baseball venues in the city, including Dodger Stadium.

From the Los Angeles Times article:

“It’s about protecting the health of our players and the health of our kids,” councilman Jose Huizar said. “America has a great pastime, but chewing smokeless tobacco shouldn’t be part of that.”

There is also a bill in the California State Legislature to ban chewing tobacco in all California ballparks, including AT&T, Dodger Stadium, the Oakland Coliseum and Petco Park in San Diego.

Chew has already been banned by baseball in all Minor League ballparks, by both players and fans. It is also banned in all NCAA ballparks. The players’ union has opposed a ban on chewing tobacco in the past, but the issue is expected to be negotiated during the next collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball.