Tobacco Strikes Out?

Written By: Jason: Saturday, 1 October 2011

For as long as the game dates back, baseball has had a love affair with tobacco. If it weren’t for tobacco, we wouldn’t have baseball cards today – they originally came packaged with chewing tobacco; one of the earliest ways to target kids. Heck, even the term “bullpen” was created in 1860 by the Bull Durham tobacco company as a way to link their product to the game.


Fast -forward over 100 years and we’re finally starting to see that the longstanding relationship isn’t what it once was.


MLB commissioner, Bud Selig, is in talks with the players’ union about the future of tobacco use in the game…or rather, the non-use of it in the future. While pro ball players are grown adults and have the right to decide whether or not to use, there are a couple overlying dilemmas when it comes to chewing tobacco (the most commonly used form of tobacco in the game).


First, the health issue: In a day and age when steroids are all the talk in sports, the health of athletes takes center stage but until recently, nobody raised too much of a stink about tobacco. The long-term effects of which can be deadly and if the MLB wants to ensure the health of it’s employees, tobacco use is glaring contradiction.


Second the role model issue: kids love, adore and idolize the players. If you’re a young kid seeing your hero take a dip during batting practice, what does that do to your impression of tobacco? These kids mimic the players’ swing, throw and body language…so why wouldn’t tobacco usage seem appealing too?


With the season coming to an end soon, this issue wont be resolved by The World Series but next season, with enough support, we could see public bans of tobacco usage on all major league fields.

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