Chicago Bans Chewing Tobacco at MLB Parks

Nelson Fox of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Don Zimmer of the Chicago White Sox chewing tobacco.

Just because they play a kids’ game doesn’t make it right to treat professional baseball players like children. That’s the take of several Chicago Cubs on the new ordinance banning the use of tobacco products at baseball parks in the Windy City.

“We’re grown men,” pitcher John Lackey noted. “People in the stands can have a beer, but we can’t do what we want? That’s a little messed up.”

The measure joins similar ones in San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles, which now make it illegal in one of every six major-league parks to play baseball while chewing Red Man. By a vote of 35-10, Chicago’s aldermen, at the urging of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Senator Dick Durbin, passed the ordinance along with a massive tax hike on cigars and a raise in the legal age to purchase cigarettes to 21.

“I’m just saying when it comes down to telling me what I can and cannot do, if it’s illegal and then I can’t do it, I get it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But don’t try to make choices for me, like a couple years ago they made it [so that] you couldn’t serve a certain size of soda pop in New York City, as an example. Come on—I don’t quite understand that. When everybody else thinks they know what’s good for me, I don’t appreciate that.”

Sounds like he might want to spit some Beech-Nut in the mayor’s eye. And that might just be what’s called for to evade detection by the busybodies busying themselves over what others put into their bodies. Tobacco juice works in the mouth; in the eye, not so much.

Chicago White Sox outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson could not be reached for comment on the controversy. But with the wood of his prized Black Betsy stained its famously dark hue by tobacco juice, one needn’t wear shoes regularly to grasp where the .356 lifetime hitter comes down on the new rule.

Copenhagen is healthier than fascism.


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