New York City passes bill to ban smokeless tobacco in MLB stadiums
Smokeless tobacco has largely been a staple among Major League Baseball players for more than a century. But the industry has taken a hit over recent years, with several cities having passed laws to ban smokeless tobacco in its MLB stadiums.
On Tuesday, New York City became the latest city to pass the bill, which will take effect immediately once mayor Bill de Blasio signs it into law -- affecting two MLB parks: Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.
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New York joins Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago as cities who won't allow fans or players to use smokeless tobacco in its ballparks this season. Toronto has similar legislature pending.
Predictably, certain players have spoken out.
"We're grown men," Cubs pitcher John Lackey said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "People in the stands can have a beer, but we can't do what we want? That's a little messed up."
"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.
Cubs catcher Miguel Montero brings up an interesting point -- that it will be difficult for players to quit, even if they want to abide by the new laws.
"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."
The New York Post's Mike Puma spoke to a pair of Mets players that will now be affected in their home park.
"I would like to see how they are going to enforce that," said one Mets player who regularly uses smokeless tobacco. "If somebody sees you chewing, will they reach over the railing and hand you a ticket when you are walking off the field?"
A second Mets player who uses smokeless tobacco said he would abide by any new law, but was concerned about the effect it could have on players.
"It's definitely an addiction and it's a tough addiction to get away from, because you're always around it and there's certain triggers," the player said. "But I think if they apply a rule, we should abide by it."
Minor League Baseball has already implemented a league-wide ban on smokeless tobacco, but the MLB Players Association has shut down prior attempts at a league-mandated shutdown.
By: John Dorn
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