Why do baseball players chew gum? Baseball players chew gum for a variety of reasons. Not only are there many baseball players that chew gum, but there are also many large tubs of gums for these players to take their gums from when they are playing.
Why do Baseball Players Chew Gum?
There are five main reasons why baseball players chew gum. These are:
Baseball is a fast-action sport. Even though it may seem nothing interesting happens for long periods, when things happen, they can be in a matter of seconds. This can be stressful. A pitch can have a speed of 90 to 100 mi/hr.
Batting speed can easily exceed 100 mi/hr. Being tense can affect playing abilities significantly. Things such as slower reaction times and poor performance can be a consequence of tension.
Although, According to a study made in 2008 and presented in the 10th Int Congress of Behavioral Medicine, chewing gum can cause anxiety levels to decrease by 17%. When confronted with mild stress situations and 10% when faced with moderate stress situations.
Superstition or just sheer habit
For some reason, some players feel that if they chew gum during a game, they will be able to perform better and win. Others have just grown accustomed to chewing gum, and they keep doing it again and again.
Dirt taste removal
Since some players will be throwing themselves to the next base, there might be times when they get dirt in their mouths.
Baseball field keepers make looks of efforts to keep the field clean and moist, which serves the purpose of not letting the dirt get into the players’ faces and mouths. Nevertheless, the game can have some times in which they slide and get dirt in their mouths.
Chewing gums will help them remove the bad taste that comes with dirt.
Dry mouth prevention
Given the fact that baseball is an outdoor activity where the players will be exposed to the sun and scorching temperatures (especially, in the summer and due to intense physical exercise), their mouths can get really dry. Fielders may not have available water for them for long periods. Certain gum companies have as their target market people with dry mouth.
As a substitute for tobacco
Ever since the 1920s, chewing tobacco was popular among many baseball players.
At first, tobacco was thought not to produce any harmful effects on humans. However, thanks to more recent studies, it was found that it did. Nevertheless, many baseball players continued with their tobacco chewing habit.
To overcome this habit, many use gum as a safer substitute when compared to tobacco. Right now, there are many very well-known baseball players from the past that continue to exhibit health problems related to their tobacco consumption.
For this reason, Major League Baseball started taking action to prevent this phenomenon from continuing from spreading among baseball players in this era.
In fact, in 2016, the Major League Baseball agreed along with the players’ union to ban smokeless tobacco during games.
While there’s no absolute law banning chewing tobacco from MLB stadiums, it is known that by 2018 half of the stadiums don’t allow tobacco on their campuses.
In 1990, it was deemed prohibited tobacco consumption in college baseball, and the same measure was taken in 1993 in minor league baseball.
When and How did the Chewing Gum Trend Start in Baseball?
In the 1930s, one could find baseball cards featuring players chewing gum. However, it wasn’t until 1952 that Fleer made it popular. When people buy trading cards, they come with chewing gum in it.
This product was top-rated for kids for almost 40 years. This doesn’t occur anymore, though. However, fans still associate chewing gum with baseball.
There is something special about chewing gum that attracts baseball players. These players want to feel young, and since they most likely than not started playing baseball when they were children, chewing gum brings them back to that place in time and space when they were younger. Contrary to chewing tobacco, chewing gum is a tradition that can be enjoyed by young and professional baseball players alike.
Why do Baseball Players Chew Gum? As said before, chewing gum makes players feel more relaxed and probably perform better at a game. It also works like a lucky charm so that they feel more confident while playing.