Friday, October 21, 2011

U.S. Senators Ask World Series Teams to Forego Chewing Tobacco

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was among the most visible users of smokeless tobacco
Yeah, like that will happen during the World Series.
U.S. senators and health officials are taking on a baseball tradition older than the World Series itself: chewing tobacco on the diamond.

With the Series set to begin Wednesday between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, the senators, along with health officials from the teams' cities, want the players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. They made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

"When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example," the senators wrote to union head Michael Weiner.

The letter was signed by Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and fellow Democrats Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa.

The senators noted that millions of people will tune in to watch the World Series, including children.

"Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products," they wrote.
I understand the argument and the horrible health effects of smokeless tobacco. But, Spring training and the start of the baseball season is the appropriate time to wean players off a very addictive drug, as tobacco is.

There is no way these players can be expected to give up chewing tobacco "cold turkey" and expect to perform well on the field.

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