There are many reasons why baseball players choose to chew bubble gum during baseball games. Some reasons to chew baseball gum include out of habit, superstition, keeping their mouth moist, and more. Another reason for the increase in chewing gum is MLB’s way to phase out smokeless tobacco during games. Here is the breakdown of why do baseball players chew gum during games.
A Chewing Tobacco Substitute
With MLB banning chewing tobacco in games and clubhouses, many payers are looking for a substitute for chewing. Chewing gum (like gumballs and gum sticks) offers a safe alternative than the harmful side of effects that dip presents for players. Chewing gum is similar to chewing on tobacco, so the motion and muscle memory help players via the substitution.
Baseball Chewing Gum Superstition
Some baseball players like to chew bubble gum for superstition reasons. Aaron Judge, of the New York Yankees, loves to chew two pieces of Dubble Bubble Sugar-free bubble gum for as long as possible. That means if Aaron Judge hits a home run, he won’t get rid of that same two pieces of bubble gum. Aaron Judge will get another two pieces of gum to chew if he makes an out in the infield or to an outfielder. If you are looking to learn more about the Judges Chambers at Yankee Stadium, you can visit either link.
Remember How Many Outs
During a baseball game, players may forget how many outs there are in the inning. As a reminder, many ballplayers choose a new piece of gum for each out in an inning. That means whenever they reach into their back pocket, they can see how many pieces are left, which signals how many out are remaining.
Removes the Taste of Dirt
Sliding into bases can add dirt to a player’s mouth, so chewing gum removes that dirty feeling that players may have. By chewing bubble gum during a game, you create moisture in your mouth and can spit out the dirt during the game. Chewing a new fresh piece of gum can pick up any extra dirt in your mouth too.
Prevents Dry Mouth
With the baseball season taking place during the summer, players need a way to prevent dry mouth. One way to avoid dry mouth is to constantly chew bubble gum since that creates moisture in your mouth. Preventing dry mouth can also have additional hygiene benefits like whitening teeth and preventing tooth decay, so it is a safe and popular choice for ballplayers.
Chewing Gum is Fun
Chewing bubble gum is fun during baseball games, so you will see many players chew to blow bubbles. Blowing bubbles during baseball games is enjoyable, so many players like to challenge each other in the dugout on who can blow the biggest bubble. Blowing bubbles is also part of a player’s concentration before a pitch, so that falls in with the superstition part of chewing gum.
What Kind of Gum Do Baseball Players Chew?
While there is no official MLB gum, you can find a few popular brands in the dugout and clubhouse for professional baseball players to chew. Some non-official bubble gum brands big leaguers enjoy Dubble Bubble Original Bubble Gum, Bubblicious, Hubba Bubba, Quench Gum, and Bubble Yum. The only official baseball brand of chewing gum is Big League Chew.
The invention of Big League Chew took place during a Minor League Baseball game by Rob Nelson in 1980 in the bullpen. Many people credit the gum to reduce the number of players chewing on tobacco during games. With the gum lasting a long time during games, many players choose Big League Chew as professional baseball players gum. The flavors of Big League Chew include original, Sour Apple, Grape, Watermelon, Cotton Candy, Strawberry, and Blue Raspberry. More than 800 million packets of Big League Chew have been sold.
Chewing Gum and Trading Cards
The Topps Company, INC, sold chewing gum and baseball team cards to collect for many generations to enjoy. Their company began selling baseball cards and bubble gum in 1938 in New York City. The idea of including gum in the trading cards was to market the sport to kids and give kids something safe to chew to emulate their favorite ballplayers.
Do Baseball Players Still Chew Tobacco / Is Dip Banned in Major League Baseball?
Big leaguers and tobacco in baseball were prevalent everywhere in the game before 2016. Countless ballplayers were chewing smokeless tobacco, and there were advertisements throughout the venue. When more health reports came out about the dangers of smokeless tobacco, and Bill Tuttle losing his life to oral cancer, baseball began phasing out the practice.
Starting in 1997, MLB began phasing out smokeless tobacco by banning the use of dip during the All-Star Game. During the 1999 season, banners and ads referencing dip throughout ballparks were taken down. While players were still using di[ during baseball games, the acceptance of chewing tobacco began changing.
Through the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2016 with the Players’ Union, new MLB players are no longer able to chew tobacco, use Dip, or take any form of smokeless tobacco. Players who are currently in the MLB may still chew tobacco, but rookies can’t. The idea of this practice is to phase out the use of chewing tobacco on the field.
Is Chewing Tobacco Banned in the Minor Leagues?
Since 1990, Minor League Baseball and College Baseball has banned the use of chewing tobacco. Any violators of the Minor League baseball tobacco ban are subject to fines. The fines for chewing tobacco in the minors range from $100-$300 for each incident.
Do Baseball Players Spit?
With the removal of smokeless tobacco from the game, many Major League Baseball Players spit during the game out of habit. Some players spit out the shell of the sunflower seeds when chewing on them during the game, but many do it out of habit from dipping. Since dipping made you spit out the product as you were using it, many players choose to spit out of muscle memory with sunflower seeds.
Baseball Bubble Gum, and the 2020 MLB Season
With baseball coming back in July 2020, MLB is getting rid of spitting during baseball games due to the pandemic. That means players cannot spit out sunflower seeds during games, nor can they spit out the dip. However, MLB players can still chew bubble gum during games, so expect to see more players blowing bubbles in the field. As long as players are not spitting out the gum on the ground, they can do whatever they want with the bubble gum.
Conclusion on Why Baseball Players Chew Gum
Since the start of Major League Baseball, players have been chewing baseball gum and for decades. While MLB continues to phase out smokeless tobacco from the game, many players are now chewing gum during games. While some players chew gum out of superstition like Aaron Judge, others chew to remember how many outs are left in the game.