Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Senators to MLB: Don't chew on this

We think it would be terrific if Major League Baseball players stopped using chewing tobacco - not only for the health of their gums and mouths, but also because it would be one less bad habit that our youngest ballplayers at home might emulate.

But is it an issue for the U.S. Senate?

The Associated Press is reporting that a group of Democratic senators want the players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. The senators - Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and fellow Democrats Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa - made a plea in separate letters that noted how millions of people will be watching the World Series, which begins tonight.

“Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products,” they wrote.

Let's be clear what the senators aren't doing: They're not introducing legislation banning the products, and they're not threatening the players union about the issue. Durbin notes in his letter that in 1993, Major League Baseball took the commendable step of prohibiting use of smokeless tobacco products in the minor leagues. He'd like to see that for the majors now, too.

So - we're torn. Certainly, there are bigger issues for Congressmen to confront these days, but we're confident in their ability to multi-task the smaller things, as well. We are, however, a little troubled at the heavy handedness of it all. It's one thing to issue a remark hoping that ballplayers set a good example for their youngest fans. It's another to urge specific action in letters bearing the seal of the U.S. Senate.

What's next: no beer and champagne in the clubhouse celebration?

Peter St. Onge


halfnhalf said...

OMG, PSO. when have you not encouraged government to save the common people from themselves?? The chief editor must have given you this assignment. It is so not like your usual mantra of legislating social behavior. Grow a set.

Garth Vader said...

Dick Durbin should stick to having reporters thrown out of his press conferences:

Garth Vader said...

Easier Durbin link to copy and paste:

RobNClt said...

Ha ha ha, the senate is telling baseball players what they should not do in the dugout? Baseball owners need to do whatever they can to get the government out of baseball. Get away from that antitrust thing, do whatever youe have to do because these political correct left wingers are doing everything but the right thing in this country. But have no fear because a lot of Democrats will not be returning to the Senate in 2013. Just hang on until then.

Catholic101 said...

Butt out, Congress. Do the work we elected you to do.

If you're so concerned, how about cleaning up the daily live sex shows on television?

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Hi halfnhalf,

Hmmmmm. Not remembering encouraging government to save people from themselves. Examples?

Here's a link to my columns. Let me know what you find: