Smokeless tobacco – aka chewing tobacco – is a big deal in Major League Baseball. It’s pretty much woven into the fabric of the game. We’ve seen players all throughout the years use it.
Tony Gwynn, who passed away due to complications from cancer in 2014, believed that his issues were because of smokeless tobacco.
Well, now, it seems like the first step to outlawing the stuff has been taken. But not by MLB.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban the use of all smokeless tobacco products at all sports venues in the city, including baseball fields. That, obviously, includes Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers have previously expressed support for the move, which will take effect before the 2016 baseball season.
You’re not going to see ball players spitting on the field, dipping, or engaging in any activity with smokeless tobacco at Dodger Stadium starting as early as this season.
But that wasn’t all. In fact, this could be the start of a radical change in the landscape of Major League Baseball.
“It is our great hope that this leads to other cities, Major League Baseball and the great players we all admire to follow suit and do what is right for the health of the players, fans and the good of the game,” [Councilman Jose] Huizar said after Tuesday’s vote.
If this is truly the beginning, it is a wonderful step. HBO Real Sports did a piece on smokeless tobacco back in 2011, and then did an update in 2015 with Tony Gwynn Jr. Losing an MLB icon is tough enough, but hearing Gwynn talk about his dad adds a personal level to this story.
It’ll be interesting to see how many other stadiums, and cities, across the sport start to enact this policy.