Cubs and White Sox players — plus their opponents — must now kick the habit when it comes to chewing tobacco at Chicago’s sports stadiums, thanks to a new city ordinance.
Among a string of anti-tobacco ordinances that passed Wednesday, the City Council banned chaw altogether at sports stadiums.
“We’re grown men,” Cubs pitcher John Lackey said. “People in the stands can have a beer, but we can’t do what we want? That’s a little messed up.
“I get it, you don’t your Little League kid to do that. I don’t want him [gestures to his nearby son] to do it. I don’t do it personally, honestly. But grown men should have their own choice.”
The issue is certain to be a hot topic in clubhouses on both sides of town.
“I was raised to be a law-abiding citizen and if that’s the way it is, that’s the way it is,” White Sox pitcher John Danks said. “Some guys will look at it and say, ‘I’m a grown man, I can do what I want within the limits of the law.’ Now you have to be selective where to do it.”
Still, chewing tobacco has long been a part of the baseball culture.
“It’s going to be hard because you’re an addict, pretty much,” Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. “It’s going to be tough to quit cold turkey. Hopefully, I can quit that, and hopefully that helps me to quit.
“Obviously, if they’re forcing me, I’ll have to force myself even harder to quick. Now if I know I can’t do it, maybe it’ll help me out.”
San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles have passed similar bans that take effect this season while New York and Toronto have legislation pending.
“I’m not into over-legislating the human race,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “So for me, I’ll just have to listen and learn.
“I stopped chewing tobacco about 15 years ago, and I’m glad that I did because I think I feel better because of it. I know the pitfalls. But I’m into education; education the masses and let everybody make their own decisions. That’s what I’m about. So to tell me what I can and cannot do as an adult –unless it’s illegal; that’s something different.
“When everybody else thinks they know what’s good for me, I don’t appreciate that.”
Contributing: Fran Spielman, Gordon Wittenmyer and Daryl Van Schouwen