The Chicago City Council on Tuesday raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, levied a $6 million tax on tobacco products, outlawed retail discounts for the daemon weed, and banned the use of smokeless tobacco at all professional and amateur sporting events. This last prohibition, aping similar bans in nanny-state sister cities San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles, has drawn the ire of Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, whose quotes on the matter are pretty great:
"I'm into personal freedoms," Maddon said Wednesday at Surprise Stadium. "I don't quite understand the point with all that. Just eradicate tobacco, period, if you're going to go that route. I'm not into over-legislating the human race.
"I stopped chewing tobacco about 15 years ago. I'm glad that I did, because I think I feel better because of it. I know the pitfalls. But I'm into (educating) the masses and let everybody make their own decisions.
"Inherently, that's what I'm about – (not telling) me what I can and cannot do as an adult." […]
"It comes down to telling me what I can and cannot do," Maddon said. "If it's illegal, then I can't do it, I get it. But don't try to make choices for me. Like a couple years ago – (when) they made it so you couldn't serve a certain-size soda pop in New York City – come on.
"When everybody else thinks that they know what's good for me, I don't appreciate that."
Maddon is considered by many to be the best manager in baseball, in part due to his "free-thinking" ways. And for whatever reason (boredom I suspect being a leading culprit), chaw and dip have been disproportionately popular in baseball for 150 years.
Related content from the Reason archive: "What's the Matter With Chicago?", "Does Congress Have Anything Better to Do Than Complain About Big League Chewing?" and "I'd Like to Go All Roberto Alomar on Henry Waxman's Dome."