By Liz Alper
Photo: Creative Commons by GamblinMan22
October 13, 2015 (Sacramento) - We see it every time we watch baseball: bored players in their team sweatshirts chewing tobacco during an at-bat or sitting in the dugout. Even managers are caught on camera spitting out tobacco juice, providing far-from-exemplary role models to youthful fans.
Those cut scenes will soon become things of the past in professional baseball games played in California. On Sunday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 768 into law, banning smokeless tobacco in all California major league ballparks Chewing tobacco is already illegal in minor league facilities.
California is home to five major league teams: the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and our own San Diego Padres.
Chewing tobacco has been blamed for the death of former San Diego Padre superstar Tony Gwynn, who died of mouth cancer. But the practice remains widespread; a Boston Globe poll players invited to Boston Red Sox spring training last year found 21 of 58 players said they used chewing tobacco.
Advocates of the ban hope the new law, which takes effect before the next baseball season, will discourage new players from starting the chewing tobacco habit and encourage veteran players to quit.