What do Carlos Hernandez, Greg Vaughn and Greg Myers of the San Diego Padres, and Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesko, Andres Galarraga and Kerry Ligtenberg of the Atlanta Braves have in common?
They're all chaw boys, playing in The Show with a big ol' chunk a chewin' tobacco stuck in the side of their face. Do you think they know how stupid that looks? Most of 'em are pretty good looking too, in addition to being fine athletes; it's almost as if they're being charitable and acknowledging their embarassment of riches by acquiring a deformity and wearing it on national TV. Modern-day sack cloth, if you will.
The major league dugout must be a really inviting place with tobacco juice and saliva sprinkled about, creating a heady aromatic blend with a couple dozen sweaty guys. Can't you just picture the scene? You wouldn't want to be chasing a pop fly around those slippery steps!
That's one good thing about American football -- I think the players got together and outlawed this practice as the result of a good chew and a good hit were being shared just a little too widely. Both sports leave the players with too much time on their hands for their own good, of course, with the specialization and alternating spectation and action.
But baseball, America's pastime, seems to have the monopoly on public consumption and ostentation of America's drug. I suppose a golfer could enjoy a good chew, but their clothes are expected to stay clean for the length of play. Basketball? Wouldn't work on that varnished floor. Tennis? I think the switching ends would lead to some ugly scenes for mixed matches. Hockey? Too much white background that would show the residue, and that can't be any good for a Zamboni.
No, leave it to baseball.
Tom von Alten tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_orgSunday, 14-Mar-1999 15:48:00 MST