This idea that, in any and every capacity, we (to define we, I mean as a society with a collective and oftentimes dissenting voice) should police our peers and moderate everything they do in the realm of personal choices that are not illegal, is a farce.

People should be allowed to make their own choices, good or bad.

If I walked up to you and said, “tobacco products are adverse to your health given enough use and consumption”, what would you say? Hopefully your retort would be, “No shit, Troy!”, because everybody — by now, unless it’s 1949 and I don’t know it — understands the health risks of said things. There’s warnings on the packages. You know what you are getting into*. I enjoy alcohol socially and occasionally enjoy cigars with friends every once in a while. Big deal — moderation rules. But I digress.

(*To be a bit of a smartass, nicotine does pose a stimulant-like effect in the brain, and also serves as an aromatase inhibitor — aromatase is the enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen; when aromatase is inhibited, more free testosterone circulates in the bloodstream, hence why you see a lot of women who smoke cigarettes often have deeper voices than women who don’t smoke and they, y’know, rock a mustache…)

Baseball legend Tony Gwynn died recently of salivary gland cancer, and blame is being put on smokeless tobacco — chew! And that’s absolutely understandable.

Bud Selig

A few weeks ago I heard ESPN’s Keith Olbermann pick apart MLB players, suggesting that the leaders of the sport take a stand against smokeless tobacco — or, as I call it, chewin’ tobaccker (I don’t really call it that… I just wanted to rock out with my y’know-what out with my southern roots and all). Olbermann said something along the lines of the substance being bad for the game, that it’s inherently dirty, being spit out all around the dugout(s) and on the field, that young children are being influenced by it, and that it’s just too darn irresponsible of MLB to continue allowing players to dip.

First of all, baseball players spitting it out onto the field, I feel neutral about it. I won’t add an opinion in regards to that. However, I will say that the said players disposing of ‘dip’ onto the field sounds a lot better than people littering their trash.

Secondly, bad for the game? In what way?

Thirdly, young children are being influenced? What? Why, I never! I’ll be damned if they get rid of my Big League Chew!

Damn you, Selig! Damn you!

Joking aside, I’ve never heard of a kid being directly influenced by baseball players dipping tobacco. Yeah, no. That’s an overused, perpetuated argument that’s said one too many times by folks I call ‘blame artists’ that are merely fear mongers.

To ban smokeless tobacco from the game is kind of like unnecessarily cladding a room with padded walls. (I could have used a 25% better analogy, but it’s almost midnight and I’m tired.) I understand taking safety measures and the like, but that’s different. Going back to my original point: people should be allowed to make good and bad choices in the realm of legal, law abiding decisions in life.

I agree with these comments from folks via the ESPN Conversations page from this link:

Selig better start forking out child support if he wants to treat grown men like children. The information is out there, everyone knows the risks. Where there is no victim there is no crime, let them make their own decisions.

Another waste of time & resources on the meaningless.

I dip Skoal. Yes, of course, I know it’s bad for me and it’s tough to quit. However, Selig doesn’t need to be the one to tell MLB players they should quit. They all know it’s bad and know the risk. Let Tony Gwynn’s passing be a lesson to all of them regarding the risk of the product.

Is Selig going to also ban beer sales? Hot dogs due to nitrates? Pepsi with high fructose syrup?

If the ban comes, I won’t lose any sleep over it. I just think it’s a part of the progression of sports in totality, a ‘cleanup’ aspect, so to speak. That’s cool. Again, insomnia will not be a factor in my life. I’m just of the party that believes that people should be allowed to make mistakes when they know the ramifications of their decisions rather than having their hands held like children being walked across the street.

I also understand the argument that it’s a part of the game’s image — like NBA players being mandated to dress professionally. I likely sound like a hypocrite, I must say, because back in 2011, when members of the Boston Red Sox were tearing down beer and chicken in the clubhouse, I lambasted them. But I did that because alcohol directly alters and diminishes judgement, which is a disservice to the fans that come to attend games who want to watch quality professional baseball rather than drunk ass guys in uniforms. If I wanted to watch a drunk dude play baseball, I’d watch reruns of HBO’s Eastbound & Down, y’know? Apples and oranges when compared to chewing tobacco.

The bottom line is that consistent consumption of chewing tobacco is and has been directly proven to be correlated with and cause cancers of the mouth, but this knowledge has been around for nearly sixty years. Baseball has been resistant to change for a while. I’m not sure whether to shrug or to say, “it’s about time they got with the times”, but I will say this, as I run it into the ground: people should be allowed to make good and bad choices in life as long as it’s legal.

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