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Congress is butting into baseball again. This time: tobacco

Apr 14, 2010, 11:12 AM EDT

tobacco.jpgCan someone tell me why Congress has nothing better to do than this?

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.

Smoking, chewing and dipping is beyond stupid, no one should do it and if I was running baseball I’d consider every possible means at my disposal to keep players from doing it. But contrary to the way everyone acts in this country, it’s still legal, ballplayers are still adults and as long as they’re not harming anyone else with it Congress should keep the heck out of the matter.

And before anyone offers the most obvious retort, allow me to note that my wife and I are raising our kids ourselves. We’re not depending on ballplayers to do it, and we certainly don’t need Congress to do it either.  If my boy sees a ballplayer with a chaw in and asks me what he’s doing I’m going to be honest and say “He’s being stupid, son. Many adults, even the athletes, can be very, very stupid at times.”

Suggestion to Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone: Go fix the financial sector or the elections laws or the environment and let the shortstop dip his Copenhagen and get jaw cancer and everything in peace.

  1. Charles Gates - Apr 14, 2010 at 11:20 AM
    I’d find a better source…but I think that one’s good enough for this purpose.
    So what’s the better comparison? Something about glass houses? Or a pot calling the kettle Caribbean?
    recaptcha: explores that

  2. The Common Man - Apr 14, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    The ban on minor leaguers using chew is the most ineffective ban on anything I’ve ever seen. Many players are clearly dipping and have for years. Umpires tend to turn a blind eye because, well, because these players are adults and it ultimately doesn’t matter. When I was a clubbie, we had two rules: 1) no chewing in the clubhouse, because getting that out of the carpet is nasty and 2) don’t get caught.
    Mr. Pallone should have more important business to attend to. And if he can’t find more important business to attend to in our current economic and political climate, I hope the voters of New Jersey will give someone else the opportunity this November.

  3. YankeesfanLen - Apr 14, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Where have you gone Ron Paul a nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.
    I’m healthy as a horse smokin’ three packs a day….oh, wait, they fixed that.
    Captcha: staffers saboteur: Yankee teetotaler during Mickey Mantle years?

  4. Charles Gates - Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Weird…it cut out what I pasted in. It was:
    ‘Members of Congress are allowed to smoke in their offices.’

  5. jwb - Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    “He’s being stupid, son. Many adults, even the athletes, can be very, very stupid at times.”
    And then you can tell him all about noted tobacco chewer and very stupid former athlete Lenny Dykstra.

  6. Jonny5 - Apr 14, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    AMEN! Mr. Calcaterra.I’m personally sick of Uncle Sam infrnging on liberties, What a huge waste of tax dollars.You’d think Mr Pallone would take the hint after New Jersey voted in a Republican Governor… Well he won’t get another term is my guess. The frivolous way our tax dollars are diverted for pet projects like this one are exactly why Democrats are losing ground in our state. There are 50 different reasons why this guy needs to sit down on this one.

  7. Simon DelMonte - Apr 14, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    While I agree that Congress has something better to do, at least there is a legitimate health issue here someplace. That puts this behind any carping about the BCS for worst sports-related use of time by Congress.
    I think to wash the taste of this from our months, we need to revisit a much more entertaining Congressional hearing:

  8. quarrels of - Apr 14, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    I’m going to ask my congresswoman to get on this whole “sunflower seed shell spitting” controversy! It sickens me to watch the role models of today spitting sunflower shells, right there in glorious HD for all the youngsters to see.

  9. mcgatman - Apr 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    wow that is all kinds of awesome.
    Senator Carroll: With the draft system, and the reserve clause in the contracts. Do you think you could still exist under existing law without changing the law?
    Mr. Stengel: I think it is run better than it has ever been run in baseball, for every department.
    Senator Carroll: Then, I come back to the principal question. This is the real question before this body.
    Mr. Stengel: All right.
    Senator Carroll: Then what is the need for legislation, if they are getting along all right?
    Mr. Stengel: I didn’t ask for the legislation.

    And they had Mickey Mantle sitting next to him. Why not Yogi, too?

  10. Old Gator - Apr 14, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    New Jersey voted in a Republican governor because the previous one was a corrupt, bungling jerk – just as it voted in the corrupt bungling jerk in the first place because his predecessor had been a corrupt bungling jerk. Folks attribute too much weight to ideology when lots of other factors are at work.
    But who knows? Maybe if nitwits like Pallone stop wasting time on tobacco, right-wing Republican assholes will stop trying to tell us what we can and can’t do with our genitals.

  11. enough already - Apr 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Personally, I was hoping someone would do something about all the scratching and blowing snot.

  12. Josh in DC - Apr 14, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Former anti-tobacco lobbyist and baseball fan here. Total waste of effort from Pallone.
    And Ron Paul is not the answer to anyone’s problems.

  13. YankeesfanLen - Apr 14, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    The last non-corrupt bungling jerk New Jersey elected was Woodrow Wilson, and I’m not sure about him, you can get a little academic over-the-top as well. At least he married his girlfriend right after his wife died to throw it in those genital-hating Republican’s faces.

  14. Chipmaker - Apr 14, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Read the whole thing. Casey raises “incomprehensibility” to a new level, even for Congressional testimony, and Mickey gets to deliver the punchline.
    capcha: is comedian

  15. YANKEES1996 - Apr 14, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Seriously, is there nothing in our countrys’ current state that needs to be looked into sooner than this stupid issue. The voters need to most assuredly make a change at their next opportunity. Some of these issues in baseball that the government is becoming involved in could be handled effectively by a GOOD Commissioner, anyone know where we could get one?

  16. Bon - Apr 14, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    No offense, Old Gator, but I think it is VERY important that the government controls your genitals.

  17. Big Harold - Apr 14, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Everybodies in general or just Old Gator’s?

  18. Rays fan - Apr 14, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    “…let the shortstop dip his Copenhagen and get jaw cancer and everything in peace.”
    …but don’t make me pay for his surgery or his chemotherapy when he knowlingly habitually used a known carcinogen, please.

  19. Old Gator - Apr 14, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    No kidding on that academic-over-the-top bit. If I’m not mistaken it was Wilson himself who told H. L. Mencken that academic politics were more vicious than the politics in Washington. When Mencken, aghast, asked him how academic politics could possibly be worse, Wilson replied, “because the stakes are so small.”
    How do you not love a guy like that?
    PS, it’s really much too late to try to control my genitals. Even my ex-wife gave up on that.

  20. mgflolox - Apr 14, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    George W. Bush isn’t doing much these days. I think he would be an excellent MLB commissioner. They should have given him the job back in 1994. Would have worked our better for all of us.

  21. Curious George - Apr 14, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    George W. Bush isn’t doing much these days.

    Isn’t he busy clearing brush in Crawford? Or is it finally all gone?

  22. chewie - Apr 15, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    I don’t necessarily think that Congress should be butting in here… That said, I know from personal experience just how difficult it is to quit. When major leaguers (or anyone for that matter) are ready to quit, is the place to get it done!

  23. Bon - Apr 15, 2010 at 9:39 AM


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