If you’re watching a baseball match on TV, the camera will sometimes zoom in on the players resting in their dugouts. You’ll also notice that many of the athletes are chewing gum. So it begs the question, why do baseball players chew gum?
Baseball players chew gum for different reasons. These reasons include removing the taste of dirt (after sliding), relieving tension, and preventing dry mouths. Additionally, baseball players chew gum because it acts as a substitute for tobacco.
Here, you’ll know what type of chewing gum baseball players chew, along with taking a deeper dive into the main topic. You’ll also find a section that tells about the alternatives to chewing gum, particularly for baseball players.
As it stands, officials from the professional baseball league prohibit players from spitting because of coronavirus concerns. An article from the National Public Radio mentioned a tweet from the official MLB account about the ban.
Additionally, to prevent the spread of the illness, players and staff members are being asked to wear gloves when they enter the field and to refrain from touching their fingers while taking a shower. They’re also being told to refrain from making social contact with other players.
Remove the Taste of Dirt
Players use chew gum to help remove the dirt from their mouths. After all, many players, especially baserunners, would slide against the dirty diamond lines, attempting to reach bases before the baseballs.
Players, especially pitchers, use chewing gum to relieve tension. Take note that baseball is a fast-paced activity. With the help of chewing gum, pitchers can relieve stress from the pressure of throwing balls while aiming for the hitter to miss.
Dry Mouth Prevention
A dry mouth can happen when playing baseball in the heat. It can also happen when players don’t have access to water or other fluids while they are in the field. Furthermore, dry mouth can happen when a player feels pressured before stepping into the field. Preventing these concerns may need the help of chewing gum.
Some baseball players are known to stick to a routine, which includes chewing gum when they play. For some, it has become a habit to chew gum before going to the ballpark. Some baseball players think of it as a type of superstition as they feel luckier when they’re chewing gum.
What Chewing Gum do Baseball Players Chew?
The MLB doesn’t restrict its professional baseball players to chew gum in their dugouts or the field. In fact, these athletes can chew any gum they want. However, you’ll find two chewing gum brands that dominate many players’ mouths.
The Official MLB Chewing Gum
Tubs of Dubble Bubble are often visible in the dugouts of major leaguers. Although it’s technically not the official MLB chewing gum, many players still prefer Dubble Bubble over any other gum brand on the market.
Big League Chew
In 1979, Rob Nelson, a minor league baseball player, came up with the idea of putting bubblegum in a pouch to mimic the look and feel of chewing tobacco. After testing his bubblegum, Nelson began working with Jim Bouton to secure a contract with Amurol Products. Since then, Big League Chew became a household name due to its colorful and muscle-clad mascot. It is available in various fruit and candy flavors.
What are Alternatives to Chewing Gum in Baseball?
Chewing gum might not be the healthiest alternative to tobacco. Nonetheless, it’s still a good way to relieve stress, prevent dry mouth, and remove the taste of dirt while playing baseball. Still, baseball players (among other individuals) also have other options than chewing gum to, well, chew.
Sunflower seeds are a favorite snack of many baseball players and their fans. Many players also chew sunflower seeds to avoid the gumminess of tobacco or gum. These alternatives are also reasonably inexpensive and tasty. These seeds are also great emergency snacks for kids.
Although they’re more expensive, pistachios are seldom chewed by players. Plus, pistachios aren’t usually as big as sunflower seeds, making them easier to chew. You can also chew on the shells and spit them out in the bin once you’re done.
Although it is less common than other forms of alternative tobacco, shredded beef jerky is still considered a good option to replace chewing tobacco or gum. However, it’s highly unlikely to see MLB players chew beef jerky on the field, considering that many see it as a child-like imitation of tobacco.
Baseball players chew gum for a range of reasons from relieving tension to substituting it for tobacco. Although you can see many players chew gum, two brands dominate the chewing gum sales in the MLB. If a player isn’t a fan of gum, they can substitute it with another chewable like sunflower seeds or pistachios.