Comment of the day: an important note about smokeless tobacco

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You’ll recall in the linked article about smokeless tobacco earlier today that the reason Stephen Strasburg is quitting the stuff is because of Tony Gwynn’s recent cancer diagnosis.  Gwynn, it is noted, has blamed his years of smokeless tobacco use for the current state of his health.

Following that post, I received an email from a pathologist who says something worth bearing in mind:

I am ambivalent about what MLB and the players do about chewing tobacco, though I admit it probably be nice if they all just quit.  And I am happy that Strasburg quit, for whatever reason.

But in the linked article, and in every article I have seen that mentioned Gwynn and his cancer, there is mention that Gwynn believes strongly that his cancer was caused by tobacco use.  I would think a good reporter might mention, tactfully, that current evidence does not show such a link with the cancer I think Gwynn has (carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma).  Tobacco has been linked to a certain benign parotid tumor, but not the one I think he originally had (I say “I think” because they never actually say, but I deduce it from the reports).  Anyway, it may not be important, but I just am always irked by untruths is news reports (and here, note that I am not referring to you), however trivial.  Tobacco has risk enough – there is no need it be exaggerated.

Good point.  One of the things that bugs me about steroids stuff is the hysteria that surrounds it.  I don’t care if Strasburg is quitting tobacco because his neighbor’s dog told him too — quitting is good regardless — but policy decisions should be based on the facts, not on hysteria, sympathy or misinformation.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.