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  1. It’s fine if MLB wants to ban tobacco. It’s not fine if Congress acts to ban its use in MLB.

    They should focus on curing their spending addiction before worrying about grown men using legal substances.

    Comment by Corey S. — February 24, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  2. “Has no real second-hand side effects other than disgusting spit.”

    Not true. As you later point out, players are role models whether they like it or not.

    Comment by Joe — February 24, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  3. A fair point, but of course that side effect is impossible to measure — and it’s a side effect of perception, not of use itself. In contrast with second-hand smoke, smokeless tobacco really only affects its chewer.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  4. The libertarian point of view has one massive flaw– it doesn’t take into account that the free market does not value individual choices as much and it uses collective behavior to make decisions for you and so everyone ends up paying for these personal freedoms. For example, if everyone decided that they had the personal freedom to eat lots of fatty things and be as fat as they liked, they would also be harming other people in the form of rising insurance costs that companies will place on EVERYONE. I have the right to buy massive gas guzzling cars but the use of those vehicles affects other people in the form of pollution and raising imports from despotic regimes.

    I’m not disagreeing with the notion that the government should not run everything but to side with the competing point of view without looking at the bigger picture is silly. I think major leaguers should be able to chew whatever they want, so long as they are willing to pay for it in the form of a “vice tax”.

    Comment by Stan — February 24, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  5. Congress can’t force Major League Baseball, a private organization, to ban something that’s legal. (Of course, they could achieve that by criminalizing tobacco use, but that isn’t on the table.) The Senators were lobbying MLB to change its own rules.

    One of the annoying things about the Congressional baseball sideshow is that Congress has no real power in these matters whatsoever, unless a player voluntarily perjures himself. Of course, that appears to be exactly what Roger Clemens did.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  6. In principle, I’m not opposed to vice taxes — I’m all in favor of taxing alcohol, tobacco, and even gasoline. But are you seriously arguing that only major league players should be subject to such a tax? Remember, we’re not talking about the market: we’re talking about Major League Baseball, a private monopoly corporation.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  7. Yes! Let’s blame athletes for our childrens’ poor choices rather than the parents!

    Comment by hunterfan — February 24, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  8. In your example, libertarians also will say that giving people the freedom to do what they want also means that they are responsible for the consequences…e.g. if you get cancer from chewing tobacco and you can pay for treatment, great! If you can’t, rest in peace. No government healthcare to rescue you from the consequences of your vices.

    Comment by hunterfan — February 24, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

  9. You know who liked vice taxes? Karl Marx. Check this out:

    “Sugar, rum, and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation.”

    Oh, wait — that was Adam Smith. Wealth of Nations.

    Libertarianism: selfishness masquerading as a political philosophy.

    Comment by Josh R — February 24, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  10. “A smokeless tobacco ban might indeed help these players’ health, and it might even have an influence on the health of young baseball fans who may have been inspired to dip because their favorite players did. But you could make the same arguments for an alcohol ban. ”

    Several clubhouses already ban alcohol from their clubhouses. And as far I know, it is effectively banned from the playing field by MLB. I certainly don’t remember anyone skipping the gatorade and grabbing a beer between innings in recent memory. Is there anything stopping clubhouses from banning it? It seems like there’s precedent for there to be no need for collective bargaining to ban it from the physical premises, or at least prevent it’s use during the game.

    Comment by Dave — February 24, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  11. A random quote devoid of context from Adam Smith (or Karl Marx) means…what, exactly? Should I randomly find a bunch of people’s quotes on luxury taxes and then slam my least favorite political philosphy as a coda?

    Comment by hunterfan — February 24, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  12. I had no idea that Miller time used to be the 7th inning stretch. How far back was that? How many are we talking here? (You’re talking like this is something you’ve personally seen so I’m assuming 1950s+ on guys got regularly buzzed on the field?)

    I mean, I know about in the old days, guys would show up drunk and the like, but I figured you weren’t talking about Grover Cleveland Alexander and his era.

    Comment by hunterfan — February 24, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  13. I think it would be a lot more helpful if we just eschewed the word “libertarian.” I’m not one, and I doubt Brett Butler would identify as one, either. The reason I used the phrase “the civil libertarian in me” was to say that, even though that’s not how I identify, I still have the occasional instinct to jealously guard my freedoms — and, for better or for worse, this would be one of those circumstances.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  14. I specifically said I don’t remember ever seeing it, so I’m not sure what your point is. My point was the MLB has made a a concerted effort to distance the players use of alcohol from the field. The Oakland A’s ban it from the clubhouse. Would a similar ban on smokeless tobacco be effective?

    Your point was what? Were you trying to state that smokeless tobacco isn’t an equivalent for alcochol because players wouldn’t use alochol during a game anyways? Or were you trying to be a smartass? I honestly can’t tell.

    Comment by Dave — February 24, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  15. There will always be the Dennis Rodman’s of the world so the argument that professional athletes are role models and should be held to a higher standard doesn’t hold much water.

    The idea of encroaching upon someone’s right to choose what to legally consume seems a bit repulsive, does it not? In someone’s above analogy about eating fatty foods, the cost does indeed become passed on to the consumer–those who lead healthier lives get discounts on insurance premiums.

    And I’m relatively certain a civil libertarian would argue against government mandated healthcare so…

    This is all pretty moot, anyway, because congress has no teeth and Bud Selig has no teeth so…nothing will come of it. All we can really do is complain that our elected representatives are wasting their time with so many other critical issues at stake. But again, what power do we really have?

    Comment by Mike Savino — February 24, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  16. I don’t really know where I stand on this, honestly. The following question isn’t meant to be taken as a position one way or another. It’s just a question.

    Besides Major League Baseball players, what other professions allow you to chew tobacco while on the clock? I’m sure there are some, but I can’t think of many, and I know that I’ve never held a job where it would be okay to dip while working.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 24, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

  17. Is this a joke?

    Comment by Garrett — February 24, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  18. I believe (and somebody please correct me if I am wrong) that because of the Anti-Trust Exemption from the US Supreme Court, Congress has much more investigative power (and perhaps the responsibility to conduct oversight) over MLB, than if it was just a regular business or organization. This is what gave them the authority to conduct some of the PED investigations, among other things. I’m not sure if it gives them the ability to dictate rules to MLB.

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  19. “For example, if everyone decided that they had the personal freedom to eat lots of fatty things and be as fat as they liked, they would also be harming other people in the form of rising insurance costs that companies will place on EVERYONE.”

    Actually, in a truly free market, insurance companies would be able to charge fat people more for insurance, or offer a discount to people who agreed to have their diet monitored. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a perfect or even ideal solution, but this isn’t really a good critique of free markets/maximizing personal freedom.

    Comment by Alex Poterack — February 24, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  20. Isn’t this kind of ludicrous? My workplace is tobacco free. It’s corporate policy, something that I have to adhere to while on the job, just like the dress code.

    When I’m not at work, I can smoke, chew, and wear ratty jeans to my heart’s content. When I’m in the office, I can’t. This isn’t any sort of gigantic injustice. Nobody at my firm would ever think of picketing for their smokeless tobacco rights, and if I refused to stop dipping in my cubicle, I’d eventually be fired. That would be my choice, and my employer would be completely justified in terminating me.

    I can understand the MLBPA taking a stand over pay issues and the like… but over using tobacco while at work? If there was a ban, it would be a minute price to pay for having a dream job. Given that some clubs regulate the way players LOOK (granted, that’s individual clubs and not league wide), it seems ridiculous to argue that a smokeless tobacco ban is an overreach.

    Comment by Bob — February 24, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  21. Construction for one, depending upon if you are working inside a building or outside. I’ve actually worked for a boss who supplied chewing tobacco to employees. That’s about the worst “bonus” you could get from an employer.

    Comment by Chad — February 24, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

  22. I agree that there are definitely very few professions where employees who perform work with the public, or in full view of the public (i.e. on a baseball field) where one could get away with dipping.

    Banning chew on team travel makes no sense, that’s off the clock time and the players aren’t publicly performing. But on the public stage, I think it sets an awful precedent.

    It’s toxic, addictive, carcinogenic, and I know that when I was younger – it was way cool because all the players did it.

    Perhaps the best way to eliminate it is to grandfather it out, like how hockey phased in helmets in the 1980s.

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

  23. I think the problem with vice taxes is this: imagine cutting yourself cost money. Now imagine the government taxed cutting. They aresaying “yeah this practice harms citiczens, but we make a whole crapload of money off it.” this incenticisezes the government to keep people (in this example) cutting themsleves. Alchool and tobacco might be worse long term than cutting yourself.

    Comment by Sun king — February 24, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  24. Most blue collar jobs like construction, landscaping, oilfield work, etc. have no problem with it.

    Comment by James — February 24, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  25. I think most organizations/corporations don’t care if you dip – i work with people who dip while at the office, spitting into a cup surreptitiously…it helps one get through a 12-20 hour day. where they might care is if you lie about your habits while signing up for health insurance coverage….

    I’m of the view if the players association and MLB want to ban smokeless tobacco, then they’re free to do so. But honestly, the government should just stay out of it and let the insurance companies deal with assessing the overall health risk in the population while adjusting their premiums to reflect the lifestyles of their various customers.

    The role model argument is just plain silly and I think most people are incorrectly attributing causality between tobacco use and the presence of so-called tobacco-using “role models”. But hey, I’m a big Beatles fan, but I don’t do long sessions with LSD; I respect my friends who compost, but I don’t actually have a compost bin and I probably won’t until the city issues me one to use; I’d love to be steal bases and run like Raines, but I’m not gonna go out there looking for rocks.

    This role model argument is an effrontery to rational thinking. If people are that susceptible to suggestion, then it’d probably be a good idea for them to experiment and experience some consequences so they can become a little more adept at the game of life.

    I’d posit that society’s appropriate interest in this matter is one of education, we should ensure that everyone knows the consequences of these substances and then allow them to make their own decisions. As a smoker, I’m challenging myself to quit despite the fact I love the little death-soldiers because they make meals taste great and I love my coffee and cigarette. I don’t regret a single cigarette (except for the cheap, nasty ones), but I understand the elevated risks of heart disease and various other life-threatening conditions.

    Comment by Brian C. — February 24, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  26. that’s why i hate the argument that violent video games and movies make kids violent. if you are worried about a child watching violent movies or playing violent games, why do you let your child do it and then blame the company for making it? you buy the game for the kid and then cry because the kid plays the game. i mean honestly, don’t buy it if you don’t agree with it, instead of telling the company not to make it. you are in charge of your kids, the video game company is not.

    side note: “you” is the parent, not you, hunterfan!

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 24, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  27. who’s the guy that threw a perfecto while on LSD?

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 24, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  28. I agree with OTerry. If MLB wants antitrust regulations, it needs to deal with Congress. At the same time, Congress isn’t legislating baseball’s rules, so there is no issue here whatso ever. MLB has every right to ban chewing tobacco if it chooses to. If players want to chew, they can play in another league.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 24, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  29. Congress certainly has the right to oversight. But, again, it has no power to dictate rules — or, really, to do anything whatsoever, other than issue subpoenas. That’s it.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  30. The context is apparent: Adam Smith believed the government has a role in the market.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 24, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  31. Yes, this article really needs to distinguish between a ban on the playing field and a ban of use altogether.

    Tobacco bans are more and more common at various companies, baseball would hardly be unique in this. While I agree that banning players from using smokeless tobacco on their own time is absurd – a ban during games is a very different issue.

    Comment by todmod — February 24, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  32. Trump almost canned some guy on Season 3 of the Apprentice for dipping. “So what, if I hire you, I have to get you a spittoon?” not too many workplaces allow dipping.

    Comment by AliFromCairo — February 24, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  33. Dock Ellis.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  34. Major League Baseball has no power to ban players from using tobacco in their private time. The only thing that the Collective Bargaining Agreement has power over is use at the ballpark. That’s what has been banned in the minor leagues.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  35. It depends on government’s chief aim. If government wants to make revenue, it should tax goods with relatively inelastic demand — highly addictive substances, for example. If government wants to reduce consumption, it should tax goods with relatively elastic demand.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  36. Legality isn’t the issue here. It’s a question of company policy.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  37. I love it when someone thinks that they can contribute to the discussion of an extremely complex, multifaceted problem by offering an excruciatingly simplistic perspective.

    Comment by Justin Bailey — February 24, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  38. Someone made a great YouTube video about Ellis’s trippin’ no-no:

    Comment by Justin Bailey — February 24, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  39. I think what your criticism of libertarianism boils down to is what’s known as the “tragedy of the commons”– the libertarian solution to which is to try to avoid creating “commons” in the first place (like over-regulated or socialized health care). The hardest type of these problems for libertarians to resolve, IMO, are ecological issues (air pollution, over-fishing), but it’s not like other political philosophies have been that great at dealing with ecological issues either…

    Comment by misc — February 24, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  40. First thought after reading title: BILLY BUTLER HAS CANCER?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

    Comment by Eric — February 24, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  41. Companies and organizations can and do institute prohibitions on tobacco use, even away from the workplace, as a condition of employment.

    Comment by David — February 24, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  42. It is indeed a “drug of abuse”. Abuse in this context usually means addiction. Brett Butler was clearly addicted.

    Comment by hairball — February 24, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  43. Nobody in his right mind would disagree with the notion that government has a role in the market. The debate is over the size of the role.

    Comment by James — February 24, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

  44. As an anecdote, I have some friends on Wall Street who dip frequently at work.

    Comment by James — February 24, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

  45. I’m not an expert on this area of law, but I believe that it is less a direct power to regulate but more leverage, with the stick being the antitrust exemption.

    If Congress lifts the exemption — which it could do at any time for almost any reason without violating the law — it could jeopardize MLB’s financial circumstances.

    So Congress says “do [x] or we’ll lift the antitrust exemption.” It’s not that Congress has the direct power accomplish [x], but instead the fact that Congress has the direct power to lift the exemption – it creates the leverage, or if you prefer, allows a level of coercion.

    Comment by Jeff — February 24, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  46. And they aren’t dictating any rules, they are petitioning the MLB to consider changing them.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 24, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

  47. I think the MLB is making out very well on the deal. If they don’t want to deal with congress they could operate in the free market. No coercion is involved.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 24, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

  48. When ya think about it, it IS kinda ridiculous that professional athletes consume tobacco products on the playing field, during the play of the game.

    Comment by D4P — February 24, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

  49. Yeah for what it is worth, I have dipped tobacco while working in a court house. (I do not dip anymore)

    Comment by Trenchtown — February 24, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  50. As an oncologist, I would like to see all tobacco products banned. You can say that alcohol is a big problem and you would be right but tobacco is induisputably the number one cause of preventable cause of sickness and death in the United States.

    And by “indiputibly” I mean that if you argue otherwise you are either woefully unfamiliar with the data or arguing to support a political position, not a scientific one.

    Comment by MikeS — February 24, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

  51. It wasn’t a perfect game, it was a no hitter, he walked like 9 guys. AJ Burnett also threw a no hitter while walking that many

    Comment by Trenchtown — February 24, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  52. Whenever someone mentions chew, I ask myself: Is it more astonishing that men, who will go to great lengths to attract women, will sometimes spend several hours a day with carcinogenic brown sludge in their mouths and spit it out in front of women, or that there are apparently quite a few women who are attracted to these men despite the chewing and spitting?

    Comment by ralf — February 24, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  53. Apparently large numbers of voting, Fox-News-watching Americans are not in their right minds.

    Well, not like we didn’t already know that.

    Comment by Paul Thomas — February 24, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  54. The statement that tobacco was not a drug of abuse drew a mental “huh?” from me when I read it, too.

    Comment by Paul Thomas — February 24, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  55. You’ve never working in a brothel.

    Comment by ngrimson — February 24, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  56. worked.. worked.. damn it.

    Comment by ngrimson — February 24, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  57. +1

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

  58. The ban on chewing in MiLB is as weak as weak gets. The guys use it in the clubhouse, on the bus, on the field during practice, they just can’t been seen by an umpire. Having worked in clubhouses before it makes me sick the number of guys that dip.

    Comment by Chief McHeath — February 24, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  59. *Economics flashbacks to elasticity curves* AAAARRRGGGGHHHHH.

    *Puts head between knees* this too shall pass, this too shall pass…

    Comment by Jason B — February 24, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  60. Well if its good enough for the Donald, that pretty well resolves THAT.

    /end snark/

    Comment by Jason B — February 24, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

  61. I thought of Wadsworth. And Jeeves.

    Comment by Jason B — February 24, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  62. I would hope that said women would be attracted to them *in spite of* the dippin’ and the spittin’, rather than *because* of it. :)

    But yeah, it is just about the nastiest thing imaginable to watch.

    Comment by Jason B — February 24, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  63. “But yeah, it is just about the nastiest thing imaginable to watch.”

    That and nekkid old people, like in Cocoon.

    Comment by Jason B — February 24, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  64. Plus 100 if possible.

    Comment by spaldingballs — February 24, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  65. @Justin The thing is, he’s right. Don’t look up to athletes, they will usually let you down. A good parent tells their kids to not look up to players. Imagine this happens:
    BREAKING NEWS: Gilbert Arenas had a gun in locker room
    6 year old kid: Guns are cool, and Arenas uses it. I’m gonna shoot someone!!

    Who’s fault is it? The raisers of the kid, who allowed him to be influenced. His comment is a completely valid point.

    Comment by spaldingballs — February 24, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  66. “Drug of abuse” generally refers to drugs that get you high. Nicotine just doesn’t alter your mental state the way that the psychotropics, hallucinogens, and opiates do.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 24, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

  67. I can dip at work. But I also work outside.

    Comment by adohaj — February 25, 2011 @ 1:07 am

  68. Your preference for a ban is a political opinion, not a scientific opinion.

    Scientifically, I agree with you that tobacco use can have devastating health consequences. I don’t think anyone here is disputing that. Regardless of how much data or how great the harm, however, it does not follow that there should be a ban–not without crossing from scientific opinion to political opinion.

    As an aside, though it technically does not diminish the potential validity of your arguments, you managed to differently misspell the word ‘indisputably’ both times you used it.

    Proofread: it’s courteous to the reader.

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 1:08 am

  69. Would stadium owners have any leverage to restrict the use of tobacco products on the field, (ostensibly to reduce maintenance costs)?

    Could clubs insert language into individual players’ contracts to prohibit on-field consumption?

    What percentage of players use tobacco?

    Could ownership “buy out” the players’ use of tobacco with a nominal concession in pre-arb base salary structure/level, so that the players’ union might agree to add an on-field/game-time ban in the next CBA? Perhaps a grandfather clause, aiming to eliminate on-field use within twenty years?

    In lieu of a ban, anti-tobacco propaganda at the stadiums targeting fans, particularly children (and maybe the players, too)?

    Maybe it’s fine the way it is.

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 1:35 am

  70. Actually, it is not “professional athletes” who consume tobacco products, but rather only “major league baseball players.” Imagine how ridiculous it would be to see Kobe Bryant spit into a can in between free-throw attempts. If we begin to look at this from a more abstract point of view, we can see that baseball players are not enjoying a fundamental right but instead a privilege. There are not many high profile, heavily publicized, image conscious companies that allow their employees to consume alcoholic or tobacco-related products while on the job and in public view.

    Furthermore, I would argue that those who think that baseball players do not exert influence over the general public (especially the younger fanbase) are the ones being naive and simple-minded. Public figures, especially ones with whom we have such deep emotional attachments, undoubtedly influence our behaviors and attitudes. The marketing and advertising industries have known and exploited this aspect of human psychology for years by attaching their products and services to our favorite players, in the hopes that the positive feelings we devote to these athletes will be transferred onto their products. By using tobacco products on the field, MLB players are endorsing both the product and the behavior. Is this the fault of MLB or any specific player? Of course not. Parents and guardians are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their children; however MLB and the players should recognize their roles in complicating the process of child-rearing.

    Once we recognize the fact that the MLB and its players can influence the behavior of fans, then the question becomes: should MLB, which enjoys the privileges of a government granted anti-trust exemption, also be exempted from social responsibility? I and, apparently, the government believe the answer is “no”. Because the anti-trust exemption allows baseball to operate beyond the extent of laws designed to promote and protect free markets, libertarian-like arguments are disingenuous. Major League Baseball is a quasi-public institution and therefore should act with the welfare of the public in mind.

    Comment by Liem — February 25, 2011 @ 2:32 am

  71. Members of Congress do stuff like this all the time to businesses and organizations calling on them to enact some reform or something. It’s just that when they do it for sports leagues it gets noticed more to sports fans than, say, something the wanted a tech company to do (remember the calls for Twitter to postpone their maintenance when the Iranian protests were going on followed by the actual postponement?).

    This has no legal binding power but is a signal that these members of Congress think it is important enough to get media coverage for it.

    Comment by @3_2count — February 25, 2011 @ 3:42 am

  72. I think it’s a nasty habit. Then again, it should be up to the individual to decide. Like wearing the same sweat stained hat all season.

    Comment by Big League Chew — February 25, 2011 @ 4:37 am

  73. Kids need bad role models, too.

    Comment by wrinklebump — February 25, 2011 @ 6:05 am

  74. Let me add that the overwhelming majority of military commands (at least up to 2006 when I was discharged) allow smokeless tobacco use while “on the clock”. I worked a patrol boat, interacting with the public daily, and tobacco use of all kinds was the norm, not just tolerated. I used to keep a pouch of Redman for the sole purpose of supplying it to one of my Chiefs when he would check on us. I didn’t even dip.

    Basically, as others have stated, it’s a blue collar/white collar issue. It doesn’t surprise me, for instance, that Mr. Cameron would be unaware of workplaces where dipping is tolerated, or even encouraged.

    Comment by Tim — February 25, 2011 @ 7:04 am

  75. Correct on all counts. The data on tobacco is scientific, the opinion on what to do about it is political. The second paragraph was all about heading off a potential argument that the health effects of tobacco are overblown which is a stance often taken by those looking for excuses not to quit.

    And it’s not an excuse, but posting from the Blackberry makes typing and proofreading more difficult.

    Comment by MikeS — February 25, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  76. I’m not a lawyer but I believe in most municipalities the owner of a privately owned building may declare it smoke free, tobacco free or any other “free” he likes. However, the teams may not have that right since many stadiums are owned by the municipality and leased to the team in sweetheart deals. The city may declare all buildings smoke free. At US Cellular field smoking is not allowed except in designated areas – usually small pens outside a few gates. I don’t think that ban extends to smokeless tobacco.

    Comment by MikeS — February 25, 2011 @ 7:24 am

  77. As a guy who played through college and dipped, I can tell you that I am opposed to the ban. I made a personal decision to start using, and I eventually made a decision to quit dipping. I agree with Butler’s position that there has to be a level of personal accountability. I am 100% opposed to the government trying to use its “oversight” to rid the game of something that is harmful. You as an individual need to understand what you’re doing and the effects it can have on your life. I can definitely say dipping is an extremely harmful habit, and I made the decision to quit before my use got out of control.

    You as an individual need to understand the risks involved with the use of tobacco products and if you’re willing to live with the potential consequences that’s your choice, plain and simple.

    Comment by Sox27 — February 25, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  78. OTerry,

    No, there’s no legal relationship between that exemption and the interactions between congress and MLB. That exemption comes from a court decision, not a specific law passed by congress.

    In practice… It gives them some control, because it means that MLB benefits from the tacit approval of a legally questionable decision. (Ask Craig Calcaterra about the anti-trust exemption baseball has. It appears to be a load of hooey.)

    Congress could, theoretically, take action to remove that exemption, either directly (passing a law), or indirectly, by somehow driving a challenge in the courts. So, MLB finds it in their best interests to pay a bit more attention.

    You get the idea.

    Comment by Patrick — February 25, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  79. Those opposed to MLB banning the use of tobacco in the workplace are blinded by their “libertarian” ideology, and don’t seem to understand the meaning of the term “workplace rule.”

    No-one’s suggesting that MLB can prevent players from using tobacco in their private time. It would be a workplace rule only, and thousands of employers have rules governing the workplace that are more restrictive than what is “legal.” Alcohol is plenty legal, but you can’t bring a cooler of brews to work with you, can you? But according to all of the conservative libertarians out there, you should be allowed to. After all, it’s a “personal choice.” Many employers (including professional baseball) have dress codes that go beyond what the law requires. Should ball players be allowed to make a “personal choice” to wear what they want?

    I could go on with dozens of other examples, but I think the point is made: the “conservative libertarian” philosophy just doesn’t apply to workplace rules. Nor should it. Such rules are, generally, necessary to the proper and efficient operation of the workplace. And the bottom-line is they are the prerogative of the employer and the collective bargaining agent, if any, of workers. And if you don’t like the rules imposed by your employer, you can always make the personal choice to seek employment elsewhere. People do it all the time.

    High school baseball bans the use of tobacco products by ALL team personnel, regardless of age, during competition. It’s a proper and appropriate rule. Same goes if MLB and the MLBPA choose to implement a workplace rule regarding the use of tobacco products while team personnel are at work. Happens all the time.

    Comment by KS — February 25, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  80. D’oh! I just posted the same thing as Jeff here, just above.

    Comment by Patrick — February 25, 2011 @ 10:01 am

  81. Yeah that is all kinds of gross, too.

    And I enjoy your gum.

    Comment by Jason B — February 25, 2011 @ 10:20 am

  82. @spaldingballs

    Yes, because little Gallant always listens to his parents, and never, say, to Nathan down the street, who has a really cool bb gun and sneaks his Dad’s chew after school while his parents are out.

    And Nathan, well, forget him. He deserves whatever dissipated life his parents’ example leads him to.

    Comment by Jon — February 25, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  83. “No government healthcare to rescue you from the consequences of your vices.”

    Yes, hunterfan. I am sure that is exactly what all the teapartiers intended with their signs during the health care debate that told the government to stay away from their medicare.

    Comment by eastsider — February 25, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  84. I don’t think anyone disputes that MLB has the power to enforce a workplace rule. In principle, MLB has the power to prohibit any kind of practices it wants. In practice, arbitrary prohibitions will never get through the MLBPA.

    Nor should they.

    I think that tobacco chewing is a disgusting practice, but I am really loath for MLB to set a precedent by banning a legal substance that don’t affect a player’s ability to play baseball. In general, I’d prefer to have a proscriptive rather than a prescriptive policy: I prefer the notion that everything not explicitly forbidden is permitted, rather than the notion that everything not explicitly permitted is forbidden. That’s a pretty basic libertarian notion, with a small “l.” But, again, I don’t think the word “libertarian” particularly helps elucidate this issue.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 25, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  85. Absolutely I agree that the MLB can ban anything they get the MLBPA to agree to. But I also think the MLBPA should extract a concession from MLB for literally every single thing like this that MLB wants to ban.

    I’m still annoyed at the MLBPA for not getting something in return for steroid testing.

    In general, I don’t think it’s the job of MLB to protect any player from himself.

    Comment by Llewdor — February 25, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  86. while your point is grounded in science, you’re nonetheless making a judgement on policy and, thus, a political point of your own.

    look, i’d love it if we lived in strawberry shortcake land where no one used drugs or where the illegalization of drugs made them disappear. unfortunately, that’s not the case. apolitical commenters on this subject point out that people generally don’t stop using drugs–heroin, alcohol, tobacco, whatever–by making them illegal. moreover, by making them illegal, we waste countless dollars and man hours trying to enforce those policies, with little success. we turn the underclass and common user into an enemy of society. we give them jail time instead of treatment. we create black markets and the senseless violence requisite of them. look, i’m not saying that i agree with this, but the notion that illegalization of drugs, even tobacco, is a slam dunk public health panacea without other consequences is just wrong.

    another approach, and the one butler seems to be advocating, is education and taxation…and even then, humans aren’t always rational actors. i’m taking step 1 in about two months and the number of kids who rush outside to have a smoke during breaks in our prep course is, well, shocking. if anyone should know better, you’d think the people memorizing stuff about oat cell carcinoma would.

    Comment by erich1212 — February 25, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  87. “I’m relatively certain a civil libertarian would argue against government mandated healthcare…”

    Nope. The right to go bankrupt from medical illness, or to die from lack of treatment, is not a civil right.

    Comment by matt w — February 25, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  88. The NBA should ban TAT’S first.

    Comment by Lion of the Senate — February 25, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  89. No one is forcing you to buy insurance (at least not for a few more years, ha!). If you saved up your insurance premiums over your lifetime you’d make a profit vs your outlays. Insurance is simply a tool to level out the dips and spikes that one faces in those outlays over the course of a lifetime. If you don’t want to pay for other peoples poor decisions, don’t buy insurance. It’s certainly not a requirement for life.

    As for me buying a gas guzzler and raising prices across the board, that’s a straw man argument. The average person contributes a miniscule amount to global demand.

    So no, the libertarian argument doesn’t fail. What fails is assholes trying to assert their moral dominance and forcing conformity to some ideal. Worry about your own life and stop trying to make peoples decisions for them. You’ll be a happier person.

    Comment by Schu — February 25, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  90. Yes, exactly.

    Comment by Schu — February 25, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  91. So you want to live in a world where other people make your decisions for you? Or do you just assume that the choices you currently make in your life are the ‘right choices’ and you’ll never have anyone step on your toes?


    Comment by Schu — February 25, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

  92. It has nothing to do with being “blinded.” The fact is you can’t drink alcohol in an office because it will effect your ability to do your job. Dipping doesn’t effect your ability to play baseball on the field or watching from the dugout. Save the liberal spin for MSNBC message boards.

    Comment by Sox27 — February 25, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  93. Oh, are you a civil libertarian? You speak for all of us? You should certainly have the right to not buy health insurance if you so desire. Since when did people vote away their rights to determine what path they take in life? I wasn’t aware I was living in Soviet Russia.

    Comment by Schu — February 25, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  94. Once tobacco is out of the way, you can bet a pair of aspiring senators will lead the crusade against chewing gum because it causes cavities and premature arthritis of the jaw. After that, it’s on to the high sodium, choking hazards of death otherwise known as sunflower seeds. Before you know it, gloves, balls and bats will be synthetic because animals and trees have feelings, too.

    “It’s for the kids, godammit!” says Johnny Senator as he slams fist on the dais.

    Sure it is, which is why “the kids” will never have to worry about losing their right spend three hours trapped in a sea of adults getting stinking drunk and acting like assholes before they all pile into their cars and kill a few people on the way home.

    Go, senators, go!

    Comment by Choo — February 25, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  95. Congress could probably ban “the use of smokeless tobacco during baseball games.” Baseball is a part of interstate commerce and the law would only have to have a “rational basis” because it’s not discriminatory against a protected group.

    Congress does have power through the antitrust exemption. It would be similar to speed limits. Congress can’t tell Ohio to lower their speed limit to 55, but they can tell Ohio that they’ll give them transportation funds if they lower it, but won’t (as much) if they don’t.

    There are probably a lot of other ways. These things aren’t as simple as many of you are saying.

    Comment by TK — February 25, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

  96. I’m fairly sure I couldn’t chew tobacco at work, though I doubt there is a written rule. The fact that baseball players can spit tobacco wherever they want seems funny if you haven’t watched baseball your entire life.

    Comment by TK — February 25, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  97. “If you saved up your insurance premiums over your lifetime you’d make a profit vs your outlays.”

    Yeah, until you get lymphoma or leukemia or any kind of cancer that can’t be prevented and can’t afford the tens of thousands of dollars it takes (minimum) to treat it successfully. Or until you have a stroke, or some broke-ass person sideswipes you on the road and can’t cover your medical expenses, or any number of things that you have absolutely no control over happens to you.

    Then, unless you’ve been born into money or have won the lottery (or are one of the 0.001% of Americans who are self-made multi-millionaires) you’re completely screwed, in which case medical insurance IS a requirement for life.

    Comment by AndrewYF — February 25, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  98. @AndrewYF – Continue being helpless. Don’t bother to think rationally.

    It’s got nothing to do with being born rich or winning the lottery. The odds of any of that stuff happening to the average person are small.

    I simply stated the truth: That medical insurance is not a necessity. The insurance companies would not offer their product if they weren’t making a profit. This intuitively tells you that if you are an average person you will pay far more to the insurance companies via premiums than you will ever get back. If you instead took the money you spent on premiums every month and tossed it in a savings account (or heaven forbid, invested it) the odds dictate that you would come out way ahead by the time you are lying on your death bed.

    You come to a baseball site dedicated to the beauty of mathematics and you can’t work out a simple equation like this?

    Comment by Schu — February 25, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

  99. What if the language and PR of the deal didn’t frame it as a ban/prohibition, but instead as a collective voluntary initiative of abstinence by the MLBPA (quietly exchanged for some monetary or other concession from owners)?

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  100. The first time I read your post, I thought you were insulting Cameron for potentially not knowing about jobs allowing dip, so I gave you a thumbs down. After further inspection, I think I may have been wrong, so I apologize.

    To add to this, no service job (such as in the food industry, movie theaters, retail stores, etc) that I can think of would allow the use of dip while on the clock, probably due not just to health concerns but also to appearances. I don’t see how MLB is any different, they too are concerned about appearances. I feel the main reason people object to this is because it was senators writing a petition. If the league had unilaterally decided to implement this rule, no one would care.

    Comment by chisox24 — February 26, 2011 @ 2:30 am

  101. Fortunately, drunk driving is already illegal. As well it should be.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 26, 2011 @ 2:45 am

  102. The freedom to become addicted is not actually freedom.

    Comment by Jeff K — February 26, 2011 @ 5:42 am

  103. That depends: how much money is your life worth?

    If you get leukemia, and you are not a millionaire and do not have health insurance, then you are unlikely to live.

    So, no, it is not a necessity. But it is a good idea if you are concerned about your continued existence over your bank balance.

    Comment by williams .482 — February 26, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  104. Smoking is banned on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse despite being legal. How did they get that one by the MLBPA? You can’t drink alcohol in the dugout even though that’s legal. Chewing tobacco is one instance where the role model argument is inarguable. Kids chew because they think it’s cool when they see big leaguers do it. Good for the Waxman!

    Comment by Jay — February 27, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

  105. I skipped through a lot of stuff here so if it’s been answered then lynch me, but what percent of big leaguers actually chew in games? I can’t think of that many honestly. I don’t see how this is that big of a deal. Especially when a LOT of people think chewing tobacco is gross. The only people I’ve ever known to chew are hicks. So the kids that will be influenced are ones that watch baseball, ones that like a player who chews (not many), and ones who are hicks. Banning this isn’t helping much. The opportunity cost of human resources in getting this through is surely greater than the few kids that will no longer chew.

    Comment by Anthony — February 27, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  106. I think it’s just a way for congress (and MLB if they do it) to look like they actually care. It’s like the cigarett in public places ban. Sure it looks like you care, but really, they’re hurting business and causing more people to be poor. In all likelihood causing more people to start smoking since more poor people smoke to cope with their stress. Not that a MLB ban on chew will end up causing more to chew or hurt anyone economically. I just took the opportunity to selfishly get on my soapbox.

    Point is that trying to get this done is pretty worthless.

    Comment by Anthony — February 27, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  107. Who’s saying you can’t use tobacco? You just can’t use it while on the job!!! I know people can’t use it where I work! Brett Butler seems to be concerned about the Government controlling too much. Maybe he’s right — maybe they shouldn’t give the MLB the Anti-trust exemption that it has. Or is that a DIFFERENT kind of involvement?

    Comment by Eric — February 28, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  108. I’m guessing Schu is single with no plans to ever start a family.

    Comment by gonfalon — March 1, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  109. I wish there was such concern about Congress and spending back in 2003, before the idiots in charge borrowed money to pay for the invasion of a country that didn’t attack us and passed another round of tax cuts because “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

    Comment by gonfalon — March 1, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  110. Dear dodger fans ,my MOM DORIS STEVESON work for the dodger for 36+ years and on July 30 she lost her fight with lung cancer ,mom never smoked .(I TRYED TO LET MAGIC KNOW ABOUT HIS EMPLOYEE BEFORE SHE LOT HER FIGHT BUT MR.MAGIC JOHNSON ,BUT NO REPLY SO SORRY SHE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH).she know mr butler very well and they had a lot in commen. .my MOM HAS HER HANDS ON THE OUT COME OF THE WORLD CHAMPS (GO DODGERS). The family would like to have are mother on cam screen-the big one. God Bless the DODGERS.COMMENT . Or 626-393-0748 thank you for your time love Brett.

    Comment by Ray Torres — September 12, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

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