It's been a weird news day, what with Matt Kemp and Carlos Quentin burying the hatchet while Q starts breaking in a first-baseman's glove. But for my money, the weirdest news is that a California state assemblymember wants to ban MLB players from using chewing tobacco (snuff, chaw, smokeless tobacco, grown-up gum, lip leech) in the state. While the actual benefit of such a law is debatable, the emotional reasons behind it are perfectly understandable. Chewing tobacco took Tony Gwynn from us too soon, and it makes sense that San Diego assemblymember — wait, hang on, I seem to have jumped to conclusions.
The legislator proposing this bill is actually District 15's Tony Thurmond. If you've never heard of District 15 (no, it's not in The Hunger Games), let me save you some Googling. It covers a large chunk of the eastern Bay Area, including Richmond, Berkeley, and part of Oakland. But representing an Arena League town didn't stop him from invoking The Gwynn.
"Tony Gwynn was somebody I thought was a spokesman for baseball, a great role model as a person," said Assembly member Tony Thurmond, a Democrat who represents Richmond and other suburbs east of San Francisco and the bill's author.
"I'm hopeful that this bill will lend to his legacy, that it will help to prevent illness for young people and young athletes."
I wonder if Thurmond knows that Gwynn didn't support a ban on the stuff.