T Nation

Congress and MLB, Again


WASHINGTON -- The Major League Baseball Players Association is telling Congress that it discourages members from using smokeless tobacco, but players should be allowed to use substances that are legal and available to the general public.

MLBPA chief labor counsel David Prouty is among the witnesses who submitted written testimony ahead of Wednesday's hearing before a House subcommittee about the use of smokeless tobacco by baseball players.

Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, says he wants to know why smokeless tobacco is banned in the minors but allowed in the majors.

A Harvard professor says research shows about one-third of major leaguers report they use smokeless tobacco, and he says that contributes to use by youth in America.


Don't they know the prez loves his squares, guess he isn't a role model either............hahahahahahaha


Excellent use of our tax dollars. I'm so glad they are tackling this all-important issue. Kudos to our "leaders".


It's to protect the "Kids," nevermind the escalating debt being placed on those same "Kids"


I want so bad to get into one of these hearings a shout at the top of my lungs, right as the meeting is called to order, "QUIT SPENDING MY MONEY ON THIS STUPID SHIT! GO DO SOME DAMN WORK!" and then proceed to yell "zip-it" every time one of them tries to talk a-la Dr. Evil.


Good thing MLB doesn't still allow smoking during games, Obama might have been a Yankee instead of the President!


Looks like ESPN has added a little more to the story, of course dumbass Henry Waxman is involved......

WASHINGTON -- After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco.

"Good luck," San Francisco Giants reliever Brandon Medders said. "Guys do what they do. We work outside. It's been part of the game for 100 years."

At a hearing Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Health Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, called on baseball and its players to agree to bar major leaguers from using chew, dip or similar products during games.

MLB executive vice president Robert Manfred and MLB Players Association chief labor counsel David Prouty told lawmakers they agree that smokeless tobacco is harmful -- Manfred said a ban in the majors is "a laudable goal" -- but both pointed out that any ban would have to be agreed to through collective bargaining.

They said their sides are willing to discuss the topic during future negotiations; baseball's labor contract is due to expire in December 2011.

"I can tell you, anecdotally, there are plenty of players who are against it, who think, 'Of course it should be banned.' There are plenty of players who use it. Do they think it should be banned? I don't know," Prouty said in an interview after the 3½-hour hearing.

"We can go back to the players and say, 'Congress feels strongly about this. You ought to think about it. Look what's happened on other issues Congress felt strongly about,' " Prouty said.

Smoking cigarettes while in uniform and in view of the public is not allowed in the majors. Smokeless tobacco has been banned in the minors since 1993 but is allowed in the majors, and players and managers often can be seen using products during games or carrying a tin of dip in a back pocket.

Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, wondered aloud: "Why don't they just chew gum if they feel the need to chew something?"

During his opening statement, Waxman said: "We don't let baseball players go stand out there in the field and drink beer. Major League Baseball won't allow them to step on the field and smoke cigarettes. So why should they be out there on the field -- in sight of all their fans on television and at the ballpark -- using smokeless tobacco?"

Waxman was one of the leaders of the House Government Reform Committee when it held a series of hearings on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball with witnesses such as Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro and Roger Clemens in the same Rayburn House Office building used for Wednesday's session.

There were no current baseball players in attendance Wednesday, but former major leaguer Joe Garagiola testified, speaking for about 15 minutes, instead of the allotted five.

"I would like the players ... who are role models; I don't care what anybody says ... to quit carrying a can of dip in their uniform pockets," Garagiola said.

"Why can't baseball and the players association right here get together and ban it? Take it off the field," Garagiola said. "Tobacco is tobacco is tobacco. ... Get it out of our game."

Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Deborah Winn of the National Cancer Institute testified about the links between smokeless tobacco and cancer, and the addictiveness of smokeless tobacco. Pechacek said smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, pancreatic cancer and has been linked to fatal heart attacks.

Harvard professor Gregory Connolly said research shows about one-third of major leaguers report they use smokeless tobacco, and he says that contributes to use by youth in America.

"I can see they don't want kids to do it, which is good," Medders said before San Francisco hosted Pittsburgh on Wednesday. He also called the idea that smokeless tobacco, which he uses, could be banned "just stupid."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is trying to quit his longtime smokeless tobacco habit, and he stops during each offseason. He's down to about two dips a day; he says the tobacco makes him sharper in his decision-making during games.

"I've dramatically cut back. I feel a lot better," Bochy said. "It's not as prevalent in the game as it used to be, which is a good thing. We know it's not good for you, and I'm guilty. We are role models. Believe me, I made sure my two boys don't do it. I don't know if it should take an act of Congress to do it. Starting in the minor leagues, we've done a pretty good job."


I just quit chewing Cope 2 weeks ago!!

Used the patch.


This whole thing is stupid and a waste of tax dollars.

These guys are voted out next term for sure.

Hey Congress.... you need to look at how to create insentives for THE PRIVATE FUCKING MARKET and JOBS you donkey fuck faced cum guzzling gutter sluts!!!!!

Instead, we concentrate on shit like this, amnesty, new ways to tax the shit out of us, extending welfare benefits and destroying the best health care market on earth. Thanks Jackasses! See you at the ballot boxes bitches!


I have nothing to add other than how ridiculous this is and that it's good to have our goat boy back.


This is one of the most ridiculous things I have seen congress try to do. They get done with a charlie foxtrot like Health Care, now they are bored so they are picking away at baseball.

Glad they are at least not trying to ban smokeless tobacco from the entire baseball stadium. Diamondbacks would be losing five season ticket holders.


So I take it that your infrastructure is first class, the budget is balanced and drop out rates are negligeable?

Good for you!


Everything is lovely in the good ole USA!