MLB looking to eliminate chew, so why wasn’t there a tribute to Gwynn at ASG? 5


 

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Getty Images

Alright, so our good old buddy Bud Selig is planning to attempt to eliminate chewing tobacco, not just in baseball but in general – but mainly in the only place he has power which would be in baseball!

It’s a great and now even more important cause in light of the death of one of

baseball’s greats and most beloved players Tony Gwynn to salivary gland cancer. Gwynn attributed the cancer to his years of using chewing tobacco. In fact a few players such as the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg and Diamondbacks’ Addison Reed have announced their intent to quit using chew in Gwynn’s honor, both played under him at the San Diego State University, and of course in an attempt to save their own lives and to set an example for younger players and kids around the world. 

This is all good stuff, great stuff in fact. I just read that Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball’s Player’s Association executive Tony Clark are, if they can find a common ground, launching a campaign against chewing tobacco.

 I’ll talk about why they can’t “reach an agreement” in a second but this really makes me question why there was no tribute to Tony Gwynn at the All-Star Game? This is something that has irked many fans and players. The Orioles’ Adam Jones wrote Gwynns initials and number on the hat he wore during the game on Tuesday to honor “Mr. Padre.”

 

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Getty Images

Now, as I am writing this, I see where there MAY be an alright reason for not acknowledging “Mr. Padre.” It is only because there have been quite a few major deaths in baseball this year including Bob Welch, the last pitcher to win over 25 games (he won 27 in 1990) and Don Zimmer, who was best described as a “baseball lifer.” So I can understand if they couldn’t take time to honor everyone – but couldn’t they have acknowledged those we’ve lost this season or something? 

Something about having a plan to rid baseball of chewing tobacco and not saying a word about it on one of baseball’s biggest stages seems odd. What better time to capture the attention of a large audience while at the same time paying tribute to a man – or men  – that everyone loved and adored – although Gwynn is the most well-known of the three, they were all great men in baseball history and personally, the loss of Bob Welch hit me particularly hard. He was an amazing person and great ballplayer. 

So, here’s the reason that these two important causes couldn’t come together and honor the fallen while also getting the message out there where the largest baseball audience could have seen and gotten the message that chewing tobacco out to the public at the same time. No brainer, right?! They can’t come to terms on whether to ban chewing tobacco from baseball (Selig’s stance) entirely or whether to keep the terms agreed upon in 2011 and simply restrict it’s use. 

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

For example, players are not allowed to use it on camera or carry it on them while in uniform, nor are they distributed the substance by their teams. That is the stance of MLBPA which is understandable. Tony Clark said,

“We give the players the opportunity to make the decision they’re going to make against the backdrop of it being legal. At the end of the day, we don’t condone it and they know we don’t condone it.”

Selig basically said the same thing, while at the same time wanting to ban the use of smokeless tobacco all together from the sport – which as usual – doesn’t quite make all that much sense. 

“I understand that individuals have a right to make their own decisions.”

However he also said,

“The one thing I personally assume as commissioner is that we’re responsible for the health of our players.”

My problem with this whole issue going on is this, if Tony Clark and Bud Selig are both so passionate to stop the usage of smokeless tobacco why didn’t they just kill two birds with one stone. They did not have to agree completely to have taken a moment to remember one of baseball’s greats which would have given them the opportunity to educate the large All-Star Game audience about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – there you go. People would have been educated and gotten the tribute that almost all of us expected to see at some point during the All-Star Game. 

Everyone, in my personal opinion has the right to make their own decisions – as grown men, if the players using the stuff want to risk their lives – that’s their issue because IT IS THEIR LIFE and it’s not anyone else’s place to make decisions for them. 

AP Photo/Chris Gardner

AP Photo/Chris Gardner

My problem with this whole issue going on is this, if these two men are both so passionate to stop the usage of smokeless tobacco why didn’t they just kill two birds with one stone. They did not have to agree completely to have taken a moment to remember one of baseball’s greats which would have given them the opportunity to educate the large All-Star Game audience about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – there you go. People would have been educated and gotten the tribute they wanted, that most expected to see, during the All-Star Game. 

It appears both sides are on the same page but one is looking to protect the individual rights of the players and the other wants a universal ban. But under a universal ban what is next? Testing the players daily to see if they used chew at home? That’s just crazy. There are already limitations in place that prohibit its use on the field. 

While the two sides were disagreeing over something stupid like what people can and can’t do in the privacy of their own lives – they missed what would have been an excellent opportunity to remember “Mr. Padre,” appeasing everyone who expected it, and give the public essential information that would give them options on how to decide to better live their lives …. that’s seems the smartest way to go. 

Bud Selig cannot control what people do in their lives but he could have taken the opportunity to provide information and honor Gwynn as the fans wanted. Don’t you think that would have been an extremely appropriate way to honor Gwynn’s life and cause? Or am I off base here? Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about both issues, not honoring this years’ fallen players and about the use of smokeless tobacco in baseball … Thanks! Have a great day! xx ~ Jen

RIP Tony Gwynn

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Getty Images

 

Read my mom’s response and take on this topic on BBST’s sister blog Relative Replays: Behind the Bullpen Chatter! Click here for more on this topic by Barbara.