Last month, New York City banned the use of tobacco products at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. That came shortly after Chicago enacted a similar ban at sporting events, and the two cities join San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston in banning tobacco products.
The news didn’t sit well with all of the players. Notably, Cubs starter John Lackey noted the hypocrisy in policing what players can do in the confines of the stadium while fans are allowed to drink themselves stupid. He said, “We’re grown men. People in the stands can have a beer, but we can’t do what we want? That’s a little messed up.”
Joe DeLessio of NYmag.com culled together some data that says that approximately 33 percent of Major League Baseball players still use chewing tobacco. That’s down from 50 percent two decades ago, but as DeLessio notes, 33 percent is still much higher than the nationwide use of chewing tobacco among men, six percent.
Unfortunately, the use of chewing tobacco is as much a part of baseball culture as peanuts and cracker jacks. Hopefully, as more and more cities ban its use, we’ll see it eventually fade out of the sport.
Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history on September 21, 2001. It was the first game in New York after the attacks on the World Trade Center, and Piazza’s home run helped the Mets come back and beat the Braves late in the game. The victory helped the city regain a sense of normalcy.
Kevin Kernan of the New York Post is reporting that the Mets allowed the jersey Piazza wore during that game to be sold in an auction that began on Monday. That is frustrating for Piazza.
“I’ve expressed my feelings to Jeff (Wilpon) and the Mets. And while it never should have left Citi Field, they have assured me that contact with the seller has been made and they are making a concerted effort to get the jersey back. I’m hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can give back to the fans and all New Yorkers a piece of that evening that was more than just a game.’’
A Mets spokesperson acknowledged a mistake was made:
“We made a mistake in selling the jersey and Jeff called Mike to express our regret in so doing,’’ the spokesperson said. “We have dedicated a section in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate Mike’s achievements and his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and are exploring memorabilia to display in that area.”
It’s Piazza’s hope that the jersey is recovered so it can be put on display at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as well as the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
The Brewers placed starter Matt Garza on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday due to a strained right lat. Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the right-hander expects to miss four to six weeks.
Garza was expected to start on Wednesday against the Giants. Taylor Jungmann will start in his place, and Tyler Cravy has been called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Garza, 32, had gone eight consecutive seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA but struggled last season. He finished with a 5.63 ERA and a 104/57 K/BB ratio over 148 2/3 innings.
Hall of Famer Johnny Bench did a few videos for Kingsford Charcoal in which the catcher complains about what Major League Baseball’s Opening Day has become. The videos are titled “Sadness”, “Anger”, and “Disgust”.
Bench complains that some teams open the season at night, rather than during the afternoon. Or some teams open a day later than other teams. In his perfect world, all 30 teams open the season on the same afternoon.
The videos direct users to a Kingsford-sponsored petition called “Take Back Opening Day”.
Bench has had his complaining cap on a lot lately. Last month, he lamented the lack of “chin music” in baseball.
(Tip of the cap to Ted Berg of USA TODAY on finding these videos.)
Monday’s season opener between the Dodgers and Padres was notable not only because the Padres lost 15-0 in historic fashion, but because Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully took time during the game to explain what the acronym “GOAT” means. He did so using an anecdote involving Jon Jay and Michael Jordan.
Scully may be 88 years old, but he still makes sure to stay up on the latest lingo.