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Article: Baseball and the Slow Death of Chewing Tobacco

byron buxton miguel sano dave st. peter tony gwynn
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#41 Carole Keller

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:39 PM

 

So 1/3 of major leaguers dip or chew and only 6% of nonplaying males use it. I wonder how many players drink heavily? Just because we can’t see them do it doesn’t make much of a difference. Hardly seems like much to worry about. Unlike smoking, it only affects the user, unless you are squeamish about people spitting. These guys are going to parks like 9 months out of the year. Let them have a little something. Maybe require some preseason education about he dangers of using. Not a big deal IMO, just something for some folks to feel good about.

Having sat next to someone spitting, into a cup, at a game ... it's not about being squeamish ... it's just gross. I'd be happy for it to be banned in the stadium.

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A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a skunkweed will always be a skunkweed and instantly recognizable. 


#42 Shaitan

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:40 PM

 

The organization that says you can’t dip in the dugout allows you to drink in the clubhouse. How is this so hard to understand.

This alcohol vs chew seems irrelevant, but thanks for putting me in my place.


#43 Aggies7

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:40 PM

This alcohol vs chew seems irrelevant, but thanks for putting me in my place.


Lol wasn’t trying to put your in your place, you said you didn’t understand my point. I thought I’d help out.

#44 Aggies7

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:41 PM

Having sat next to someone spitting, into a cup, at a game ... it's not about being squeamish ... it's just gross. I'd be happy for it to be banned in the stadium.


I feel the same way when I sit next to a fat guy eating nachos. To each his own I guess.

#45 nicksaviking

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:44 PM

 

Like they say “impairment starts with the first drink”

Maybe a small percentage of people who drink are addicted, but something like 13% of the adult population is considering to be alcoholics. So if tobacco use is around 6%..

 

Chewing tobacco is 6%, not overall tobacco use. And like most people, I don't mind if my kids become adults and have a drink or two because I know if they use moderation, they will be healthy and fine. Your one dip a day is nice not the norm; people considered tobacco users are not afforded moderation due to the nature of the product and the additional addictive properties pumped into them, they are by design, unhealthy, alcohol in moderation is not.

 

But again, not the point. If you think alcohol should be banned if tobacco is banned, fine, but alcohol is more ingrained in society and would be difficult to prohibit again, so let's start with the easy one.

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#46 Carole Keller

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:47 PM

 

I feel the same way when I sit next to a fat guy eating nachos. To each his own I guess.

So do I ... so you go over there -------------> and sit. ;)

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A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a skunkweed will always be a skunkweed and instantly recognizable. 


#47 Aggies7

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:55 PM

Chewing tobacco is 6%, not overall tobacco use. And like most people, I don't mind if my kids become adults and have a drink or two because I know if they use moderation, they will be healthy and fine. Your one dip a day is nice not the norm; people considered tobacco users are not afforded moderation due to the nature of the product and the additional addictive properties pumped into them, they are by design, unhealthy, alcohol in moderation is not.
 
But again, not the point. If you think alcohol should be banned if tobacco is banned, fine, but alcohol is more ingrained in society and would be difficult to prohibit again, so let's start with the easy one.


I don’t buy your last point. Maybe from a fan standpoint, yes. But there’s zero reason it should be in any clubhouse if other things aren’t. Beer is no more ingrained to the players than tobacco. It’s not that it’s easier, it just costs less to ban it.

#48 spycake

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:57 PM

 

Who said they couldn’t? Did I say that? I just called them hypocrites, which you cannot possibly argue against.

You've dismissed legitimate justifications for the tobacco ban all through this thread. You called the ban "just something for some folks to feel good about".

 

You also called them hypocrites for not banning hot dogs and soda, so I'd argue your use of the term is pretty loose to the point where it doesn't have much practical meaning.


#49 Aggies7

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:03 PM

You've dismissed legitimate justifications for the tobacco ban all through this thread. You called the ban "just something for some folks to feel good about".

You also called them hypocrites for not banning hot dogs and soda, so I'd argue your use of the term is pretty loose to the point where it doesn't have much practical meaning.

That was obviously hyperbole, but you knew that.

The same arguments you make for banning tobacco can be made for banning booze. Immediate impact, long term health concerns, fan interaction. Or is that not correct?

Edited by Aggies7, 13 June 2019 - 01:04 PM.


#50 nicksaviking

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:14 PM

 

I don’t buy your last point. Maybe from a fan standpoint, yes. But there’s zero reason it should be in any clubhouse if other things aren’t. Beer is no more ingrained to the players than tobacco. It’s not that it’s easier, it just costs less to ban it.

 

And I've said you have valid points with alcohol even if I don't agree with them all, again, what is your justification for keeping tobacco other than "If I can't have mine you can't have yours"?


#51 KirbyDome89

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:18 PM

 

So a business can't justify taking one step to save themselves money and improve the health of their employees unless they take every possible step to do so. Got it.

I agree with Nick that holding up one side as "worse," to exonerate the other is a weak argument, but Aggies is right about the hypocrisy. Heart disease affects exponentially more people than cancer due to smokeless tobacco, yet ballparks are more than willing to push out 3000 calorie platters of artery clogging garbage to their fanbase. That absolutely has a direct financial impact. 

 

IMO banning chewing tobacco is purely PR. They can spin it as a concern for health, but that comes off as entirely hypocritical when you consider what they're selling to the fanbase that kicks in tax money to pay for the stadium, generates concession/ticket revenue, and purchases tv viewing packages. 

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#52 spycake

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:20 PM

 

That was obviously hyperbole, but you knew that.

And what was the point of your hyperbole? To be dismissive of legitimate justifications for the tobacco ban (responding to my post about health insurance costs).

 

 

The same arguments you make for banning tobacco can be made for banning booze. Immediate impact, long term health concerns, fan interaction. Or is that not correct?

Not quite. The primary argument I made about banning tobacco -- which you dismissed with your hyperbole -- was health insurance costs, which are affected more by tobacco than alcohol.

 

That said, this website from 2012 says that 18 MLB clubs had clubhouse alcohol restrictions -- I imagine that number has only gone up:

https://www.shazamla...lubhouses.shtml

 

Here's another article from 2013 that says "You can drink on team flights traveling on the road, but on flights home, not one team authorizes drinking."

https://www.shazamla...lubhouses.shtml

 

It sure seems like MLB is taking reasonable steps to deal with alcohol use among its players too.

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#53 Aggies7

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:22 PM

And I've said you have valid points with alcohol even if I don't agree with them all, again, what is your justification for keeping tobacco other than "If I can't have mine you can't have yours"?


Fairness, uniformity, anti hypocrisy. Not that any of us are pro ball players, but I can sympathize. My workplace (a college) recently banned all forms of tobacco and while I disagree, I understand why. Same reason I understand why the powers that be banned the keg parties the old timers tell me they used to have many years ago for employees every other Friday after work. While it would be awesome to still have those, the horrible things that can happen when a few dozen people drive home after hours of drinking were understandably enough to cancel that. And I’m as pro beer as it comes, I’m a home brewer!

#54 Aggies7

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:27 PM


Not quite. The primary argument I made about banning tobacco -- which you dismissed with your hyperbole -- was health insurance costs, which are affected more by tobacco than alcohol.

.

Can you prove this statement that chewing tobacco, not smoking, affects insurance costs more than alcohol?

Yes, many clubs do have restrictions, many but not all.

Edited by Aggies7, 13 June 2019 - 01:28 PM.


#55 spycake

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:39 PM

 

I agree with Nick that holding up one side as "worse," to exonerate the other is a weak argument, but Aggies is right about the hypocrisy. Heart disease affects exponentially more people than cancer due to smokeless tobacco, yet ballparks are more than willing to push out 3000 calorie platters of artery clogging garbage to their fanbase. That absolutely has a direct financial impact. 

 

IMO banning chewing tobacco is purely PR. They can spin it as a concern for health, but that comes off as entirely hypocritical when you consider what they're selling to the fanbase that kicks in tax money to pay for the stadium, generates concession/ticket revenue, and purchases tv viewing packages. 

MLB teams save money by discouraging tobacco use. MLB teams make money through concession sales. All of that seems perfectly consistent.

 

Are some of their reasons/justifications less meaningful than others? Certainly, but that doesn't mean the other reasons don't exist.

 

FWIW, those "3000 calorie platters of artery clogging garbage" at the ballpark are generally priced so as to discourage their mass consumption. :)


#56 spycake

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:47 PM

 

Can you prove this statement that chewing tobacco, not smoking, affects insurance costs more than alcohol?

It's a lot harder for insurers to get meaningful data about an individual's alcohol usage vs tobacco usage.

 

And as for chew vs smoke, it has been my experience that insurance companies don't differentiate between the two. A quick Google search seems to back that up: "While tobacco chewers might not be at the same level of risk as smokers for respiratory or other debilitating health conditions, insurance companies place all tobacco users -- including those who chew -- in the same smoker risk category and hit them with higher premiums"

https://budgeting.th...acco-31513.html

 


#57 nicksaviking

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:56 PM

 

I agree with Nick that holding up one side as "worse," to exonerate the other is a weak argument, but Aggies is right about the hypocrisy. Heart disease affects exponentially more people than cancer due to smokeless tobacco, yet ballparks are more than willing to push out 3000 calorie platters of artery clogging garbage to their fanbase. That absolutely has a direct financial impact. 

 

IMO banning chewing tobacco is purely PR. They can spin it as a concern for health, but that comes off as entirely hypocritical when you consider what they're selling to the fanbase that kicks in tax money to pay for the stadium, generates concession/ticket revenue, and purchases tv viewing packages. 

 

As someone who might be tempted by that 3000 calorie platter, they can go right ahead and get rid of that as well. If getting rid of chew 10 years ago would have stopped a young Byron Buxton from starting, then it wouldn't have just been PR, and if getting rid of it now stops Byron Buxton from influencing next generation, that's not PR either.

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#58 KirbyDome89

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:13 PM

 

As someone who might be tempted by that 3000 calorie platter, they can go right ahead and get rid of that as well. If getting rid of chew 10 years ago would have stopped a young Byron Buxton from starting, then it wouldn't have just been PR, and if getting rid of it now stops Byron Buxton from influencing next generation, that's not PR either.

Honestly I'd rather they not get rid of any of it, and adults were allowed to make their own decisions. Buxton is a grown man, I think it's safe to assume he knows the risks associated with chewing at this point. He's no longer an impressionable youngster. 

 

I agree that there always has to be a first domino to fall, but like I said before, if MLB is actually serious about the health of those involved there are larger dominoes to topple that would be just as easy as banning chew. That leads me to believe this is more about PR, i.e. "think of the children," rather than actual concern. 


#59 KirbyDome89

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:15 PM

 

MLB teams save money by discouraging tobacco use. MLB teams make money through concession sales. All of that seems perfectly consistent.

 

Are some of their reasons/justifications less meaningful than others? Certainly, but that doesn't mean the other reasons don't exist.

 

FWIW, those "3000 calorie platters of artery clogging garbage" at the ballpark are generally priced so as to discourage their mass consumption. :)

Short term yes, but they also stand to make a lot more long term by holding onto customers. That's the inconsistency. 

 

I think that player health could certainly be a factor, I just don't buy the idea it's near the top of the list for banning chew. 

 

Ha, in one sitting, sure. It doesn't take too many of them over time to start doing some damage though. 


#60 spycake

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:31 PM

 

Short term yes, but they also stand to make a lot more long term by holding onto customers. That's the inconsistency. 

You think they're losing a lot of customers through the tobacco ban? I'm guessing they make money from the stadium ban -- tobacco users rate of attendance probably doesn't fall off much (if at all), and they're probably more likely to purchase concessions if they can't use tobacco. 

 

 

I think that player health could certainly be a factor, I just don't buy the idea it's near the top of the list for banning chew. 

You think MLB isn't motivated by money too? The insurance costs could be considerable. Remember, they're paying for lifetime insurance for every guy who's ever suited up in an MLB uniform. When that populations chews at 5x the rate of the normal population, the extra premium costs are going to add up.

 

Obviously we don't know how they rank the reasons, but if they save money AND get good PR, I wouldn't say they're doing it just to feel good about themselves.




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