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Sports Then and Now



Five Issues Congress Should Worry About Before Tobacco 2

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Don Spieles
Tobacco has long been an engrained staple on the baseball diamond.

Tobacco has long been an engrained staple on the baseball diamond.

Many, many folks share the opinion that Congress should keeps its collective nose out of the area of professional sports all together.  A recent story from the Associated Press revealed that the new cause du jour for sports minded elected officials is chewing tobacco.

The use of chewing tobacco and snuff, or “dip”, is prevalent in Major League baseball.  While it is common knowledge that the use of these products is associated with largely increased instances of cancers of the mouth, throat, and stomach, and with the minor leagues having banned it’s game time use in 1993, its use is still common place in the big show.

“Good luck,” said Brandon Medders, San Francisco Giants pitcher, referring to trying to ban the use of tobacco. “Guys do what they do. We work outside. It’s been part of the game for 100 years.”

While not using the stuff is obviously a good idea, it will not be an easy sell.  Not to mention that it is far from the most pressing issue in professional sports.  Here are five better ways for Congress to focus their extra time.

5. Gambling

Gambling is one of the best kept non-secrets in the universe.  The one player who has been banned from professional baseball in the last half century, Pete Rose, was booted for gambling.  The “industry”, both legal and illegal versions, constitutes a multi-billion dollar cash sow for those raking in the dough.  Gambling has proven itself every bit as addictive to some individuals as tobacco or drugs, and the NBA was rocked by a scandal where referee Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison for being involved in a gambling scandal. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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