Chicago ballparks ban smokeless tobacco

Major League Baseball in Chicago is singing a new tune — “Take Me OUT of the Ball Game” – when it comes to smokeless tobacco.

Chaw and dip have been a staple in dugouts just as much as peanuts and Crackerjacks in the stands.

But when the Cubs return to play at Wrigley Field on Friday — and White Sox return to U.S Cellular Field on July 21 — the use of smokeless tobacco products will be illegal at both ballparks, along with all “professional and amateur” sporting events in Chicago.

The city council approved the tobacco ban in March and it officially went into effect Tuesday, during the All-Star break.

The new ordinance has brought mixed reactions from both clubhouses.

Sox catcher Alex Avila, a smokeless user, insists players will break the ban.

“They just want to make sure it’s not visible,” Avila said. “For some guys, it might push them to quit. For others, it won’t.”

Cubs catcher and tobacco user Miguel Montero took a lighter view.

“Rules are rules and rules are meant to be broken,” Montero said with a laugh. “But seriously, we’ve got to follow the rules. It’s going to be tough to quit.”

The law is a result of lobbying by Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and the Washington, D.C.-based “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,” which has targeted MLB because of the game’s historic relationship with chewing tobacco.

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