Congress wants change on tobacco use in baseball - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Congress wants change on tobacco use in baseball

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The first game of the World Series is Wednesday night, and before the first pitch has even been thrown, four U.S. senators have made an unusual request of the players -- not to chew tobacco during the series because of the influence it might have on young kids watching the games.

Nearly 15 million viewers are expected to watch the first game, including many children the senators believe may be influenced by watching their favorite players chewing tobacco. 

In a letter sent to the Major League Baseball Players Association, the senators requested that the players not chew tobacco during these games to set a good example and to right what they believe to be a wrong.

Two East Texas experts said that it is undeniable that Major League ballplayers are role models, but that their tobacco use may not be easy to stop or be causing children to start using the products.

"I think what's most important is the people around them day to day, that they see all the time. I think that's where we need to focus most of our energy and attention," said Natusha Howard, Director of Prevention at the East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

"I think it's a good request to bring up the issue of eliminating tobacco in professional baseball, and you know baseball's such a, I guess the best way to put it is not so much a superstitious but a ritualistic sport," said UT Tyler Head Baseball Coach Paul Wyczawski. "I just don't think guys who have been doing something all year are going to find it easy to quit over a 7-day World Series. But I think the issue is bigger than that and I think it's something that needs to be addressed."

It is still unclear as to whether any players will heed the request to not chew tobacco during the World Series games.

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