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Chewing Gum in Baseball: The Practical Physical and Superstitious Reasons Explained

Baseball and chewing gum are two things that are often associated with each other. But have you ever wondered why baseball players chew gum?

In this article, we will explore the practical, physical, and superstitious reasons behind baseball players chewing gum, the popular brands of gum used in baseball, the history of baseball players chewing gum, and the controversy surrounding the use of chewing gum in baseball.

Practical Reasons

One of the primary practical reasons why baseball players chew gum is because it helps to keep their mouth moist during a game. Baseball is a dusty and dirty sport, and players need to keep their mouth moist so that they can spit out the dry dirt that accumulates in their mouth.

Chewing gum also helps to stimulate saliva production, which can help to further moisten the mouth and help players spit out dust and dirt.

Physical Reasons

In addition to its practical uses, chewing gum can also have physical benefits for baseball players. Studies have shown that chewing gum can increase brain activity, focus, concentration, and reaction times.

When players chew gum, it helps to stimulate their senses and keep them more alert. This can be especially important for players who have been on the field for a long time and may be starting to feel fatigued.

Superstitious Reasons

Another reason why baseball players chew gum is because of superstition. Some players believe that chewing gum brings them good luck.

For example, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is known to always chew Dubble Bubble sugar-free gum during games. While there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that chewing gum can bring luck, it is a common superstition among baseball players.

Popular Baseball Gum Brands

When it comes to chewing gum in baseball, there are a few brands that are particularly popular. Dubble Bubble, Bubbalicious, Hubba Bubba, Bubble Yum, and Big League Chew are all popular gum brands used by baseball players.

These brands are known for their sweet flavors and ability to keep players’ mouths moist during games.

Chewing Gum Controversy

While chewing gum is a popular alternative to tobacco, which was once common in baseball, there is a controversy surrounding gum use in Little League. Many leagues ban gum from being used during games because it can be a choking hazard for young players.

In addition, some leagues feel that gum use is distracting and can take away from the game.

The History of Baseball Players Chewing Gum

Believe it or not, baseball players have been chewing gum since the early 1900s. William Wrigley Jr., the founder of the Wrigley company, was a big baseball fan and saw an opportunity to promote his company by giving away free sticks of gum to fans at Cubs Park (now Wrigley Field).

The gum quickly became popular among players and fans.

Chewing Gum and Collectibles

In addition to its popularity among players, chewing gum also had a big impact on the baseball card industry. Many companies began including sticks of gum with packs of baseball cards as a bonus.

These gum-stained cards became popular collectibles among fans, and some collectors even preferred to have cards with gum stains.

Chewing Gum and Baseball Stadiums

Even today, chewing gum is a big part of the baseball experience. At Wrigley Field, for example, there is a sign that reads “Welcome to Wrigley Field” that is made entirely out of chewed gum.

Fans can add their own chewed gum to the sign, adding to the tradition. In conclusion, chewing gum has been a big part of baseball culture for over a century.

While it has practical uses like keeping players’ mouths moist and stimulating their senses, it also has physical benefits and superstitious significance. Whether you’re a fan of Dubble Bubble or Bubbalicious, there’s no denying the important role that chewing gum plays in America’s favorite pastime.

3) Memorable Baseball Gum Chewers

Alex Rodriguez, the retired baseball player and now a commentator for FOX Sports, was known for his love of chewing gum on the field. During a game, Rodriguez would go through as many as 36 pieces of gum, which he would chew in a constant cycle.

He credits chewing gum as helping him to focus and calm his nerves during his career. “It’s just a habit that took over my life,” Rodriguez once remarked.

“It takes my mind off of what my hands and feet are doing.”

Another memorable gum chewer was Clint Hurdle, the former manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hurdle was known for chewing so much gum that fans began to send him gum through the mail.

He even received a package of 13 Pieces of Bubblegum with Clint Hurdle printed on the wrapper. Hurdle claims that he would chew up to 10 pieces of gum at a time during games to keep his mind focused and calm.

4) Science, Psychology, and Superstition in Baseball

While chewing gum may seem like a small part of baseball culture, there is actually a lot of science, psychology, and superstition behind it. Here are some ways that these factors play into baseball and chewing gum:

Positive Effects of Chewing Gum

Chewing gum can have a positive impact on a player’s cognitive functions. Studies have shown that when people chew gum, it can improve their focus and concentration, as well as their reaction times.

For baseball players, who need to be alert and focused during games, this can be a big advantage. Chewing gum can also help to alleviate dry mouth, which can be a problem for players who spend a lot of time on the field.

In addition, chewing gum can help to reduce performance anxiety and stress, making it easier for players to focus on the game.

Safer Alternative to Smokeless Tobacco

In recent years, the use of smokeless tobacco has become a controversial issue in baseball. Many players have turned to smokeless tobacco, like chewing tobacco and snuff, as a way to cope with stress and anxiety during games.

However, the use of smokeless tobacco is known to increase the risk of oral cancer and other health problems. In response, the MLB has implemented a policy that prohibits all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, in all ballparks.

Chewing gum has become a popular alternative to smokeless tobacco because it offers similar benefits without the associated health risks.

Superstitions in Baseball

Baseball players are known for their superstitions, and chewing gum is no exception. Some players will only chew certain brands of gum during games, or they will have a specific number of pieces that they chew.

For example, former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis would chew exactly seven pieces of gum during each inning that he pitched. Others may only chew gum during certain situations in the game, such as when they are up to bat or on the pitcher’s mound.

While these superstitions may seem odd to outsiders, they are an important part of baseball culture and help players to feel more confident and in control during games. In conclusion, chewing gum has been a part of baseball culture for over a century and is an important tool for players to stay focused and calm during games.

Its positive effects on cognitive functions, ability to alleviate dry mouth, and association with superstitions make it a popular choice for players. With the MLB’s restrictions on tobacco products, chewing gum has also become a safer alternative for players to use during games.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic Dubble Bubble or prefer more modern options, chewing gum will continue to be a beloved part of America’s favorite pastime. In conclusion, chewing gum has emerged as an important tool in baseball to help improve focus, alleviate dry mouth, and reduce performance anxiety.

Baseball players have used gum for practical, physical, and superstitious reasons to aid their performances. The use of gum provides a safer alternative to smokeless tobacco, which has become a controversial issue in baseball.

Chewing gum has become a beloved part of America’s favorite pastime with many memorable characters associated with it, such as Alex Rodriguez and Clint Hurdle. Overall, chewing gum, though seemingly small, plays a significant role in America’s favorite pastime, and it has stood the test of time in a society that demands ever-shorter attention spans.

FAQs:

Q: Why do baseball players chew gum? A: Baseball players chew gum for practical reasons, such as moistening their mouth, as well as for physical and superstitious reasons, such as aiding in focus and good luck.

Q: What are some popular brands of gum used in baseball? A: Dubble Bubble, Bubbalicious, Hubba Bubba, Bubble Yum, and Big League Chew are some of the popular brands used in baseball.

Q: How does chewing gum benefit baseball players? A: Chewing gum stimulates senses, helps to keep players alert, and improves cognitive functions, thus aiding performance.

Q: Is it safe to use chewing gum as an alternative to smokeless tobacco in baseball? A: Yes, it is safer to use chewing gum as an alternative because it offers similar benefits without the associated health risks of smokeless tobacco.

Q: Are there any controversies associated with gum use in baseball? A: Yes, there have been controversies surrounding the choking hazards of gum use in Little League, and the MLB’s policy on tobacco products.

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