"You're writing about chewing tobacco? That's not a good article. All those kids that look up to me are going to find out I'm chewing. Nah, man, nah. It's a disgusting habit. It's terrible. It's a disgusting habit that unfortunately, for whatever reason, has become part of baseball tradition. All that being said, I'm asking that you leave my name out of it. Just say several Diamondbacks players use." -- Eric Byrnes
Great piece in the Republic today, on Joe Garagiola Sr's campaign to stop players from using chew tobacco. You probably know about his 'No-Chew Crew' team, for the kids, but he also tries to stop players from using it, especially in public:
This is something I respect about Mr. Garagiola - in many ways, he's a reactionary old fart, stuck in a pre-war view of baseball (though I've grown to love his commentaries). But it's insane for the team to have, as they apparently did, ban alcohol from the clubhouse, yet still allow the far more lethal chew tobacco in there. The story of Garagiola's conversion to the cause is dramatic, but certainly goes a long way to explain his devotion:
It was surprising to read who uses it, and who doesn't. Daron Sutton has, since his days as a minor-leaguer riding the bus. Doug Slaten does too, though responds, somewhat sniffily, to reporter Richard Ruelas, saying, "I happen to be in the process of quitting." On the other hand, I was watching the game last night, and they showed new reliever Bob Wickman in the 'pen, looking big, bad and chewing like a fiend. The demonic illusion was, however, pleasantly shattered as he blew a big, pink bubble which popped over his beard. Nice one, Bob.
The biggest shock, however, was probably Eric 'Face of the Franchise' Byrnes, who was embarrassed to be "outed" as a chewer, and asked Ruelas to leave his name out of the article, as above. Not a good example for the kids, Eric - and his mother agrees, saying in a comment on the article: "I want to THANK Mr. Garagiola for his Anti Tobacco Campaign!! Also Thank You for speaking to Eric about the terrible and dangerous habit. Hats off to YOU!! It is about time someone has the courage to speak up. Now we need a plan to help them quit. Many Thanks again!" There you go, Eric. Your mom wants you to quit. Joe G. wants you to quit. Mrs. SnakePit really wants you to quit - it's among her pet peeves, seeing her favorite ball-players looking like hamsters. You're a better man than that.