Fox Sports reports that San Francisco Giants will comply with a citywide ordinance banning the use of smokeless chewing tobacco in its playing fields next year.
Effective Jan 1st, AT&T Park will no longer allow spectators or players to chew tobacco while in the stadiummaking the team the first organization in Major League Baseball to do so. Giants manager Bruce Bochy released a statement earlier today about the ordinance:
“It’s a step in the right direction… It’s a tough deal for some of these players who have grown up playing with it and there are so many triggers in the game. I certainly don’t endorse it. With my two sons, the one thing I asked them is don’t ever start dipping.”
The article goes on to remind us that even though smokeless tobacco has been prohibited in the minors since 1993, the MLB cannot ban the use of tobacco in the the sport without an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Under their current labor contract, players, managers, and coaches cannot chew tobacco during interviews or carry tobacco while wearing a uniform when fans are in the park.
The initiative is backed by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has targeted California to try to promote its anti-smoking message. Although this move is just the beginning, there’s apparently an even bigger bill making it’s way through through the state Assembly that would outlaw all tobacco use (including e-cigs and smokeless tobacco) wherever baseball is played.
Let’s hope players are stocked up on their Big League Chew.