Four U.S. Senators and the city health officials from St. Louis and Arlington, Texas sent letters to union head Michael Weiner, urging players to not use smokeless tobacco during the World Series.
Well, that ain’t happening, but it’s worth noting insofar as this is just the latest instance of public pressure on Major League Baseball over players’ use of tobacco. The campaign is pretty orchestrated at this point, and it’s a campaign I support because I do think that a lot of kids start using smokeless tobacco because it’s seen as acceptable in baseball.
Of course, no one appeal is going to be effective in and of itself. But it was exactly these kinds of gestures and overall awareness/shaming campaigns that have led to a big, big reduction in tobacco use overall. Laws and bans have played a big part in that, but stigmatizing tobacco use and getting minds and values to change over time has probably played a way bigger role.
I support a tobacco ban for baseball, but I doubt the league has the stomach to fight the union over tobacco use (and there isn’t a big percentage in it for MLB to begin with). But, at the very least, I bet if this sort of pressure keeps up, tobacco use will decrease among baseball players.