The issue of secondhand smoke in the government’s ceaseless war against tobacco, a legal product, has merit. Now some jurisdictions are cracking down on smokeless tobacco, at baseball stadiums no less. Taking a pinch between cheek and gum or chewing now runs counter to municipal ordinances at Fenway Park in Boston, AT&T Park in San Francisco and Dodger Stadium in L.A.
Players who dip or chew should be advised that this movement is gaining momentum. From The Associated Press: “Similar legislation has been proposed in New York City, and both the Mets and Yankees say they back such a ban at their parks. In Toronto, a city legislator said … he plans to pursue a ban that would cover the Blue Jays’ stadium. The letter being distributed to players on 40-man rosters and teams this spring says: ‘Please note that these are city ordinances and not rules established by Major League Baseball. However, the commissioner’s office will be monitoring players and club personnel for compliance with the regulations.’ ”
Baseball enforces a prohibition on dipping and chewing in the minor leagues. It has not been extended to the majors because the players’ union objects. From Curbed Los Angeles: “Cubs relief pitcher James Russell doesn’t believe tobacco bans will stop him from dipping and boasts, ‘It’s not like they can tell us not to do it.’ Cubs catcher David Ross doesn’t even chew tobacco, but is worried about the effects of the ban on teammates who have made chew a part of their playing routine, saying ‘it’s hard to tell somebody what tools they can take to their work.’ ”
Mr. Ross, 39 and in his final season as a player, will manage in the majors; may the nanny-statists’ war on secondhand spit be settled when he gets there.