Getty Images Lenny Dykstra

Chew on this, MLB prospects: no more dipping.

According to the AP, MLB and the MLB Players Association have agreed to ban smokeless tobacco for future Major Leaguers. The rule is part of the league's new collective bargaining agreement, which was verbally agreed to on Wednesday night.

One important note: current MLB players are grandfathered in and will still be permitted to use smokeless tobacco.


MLB and city governments have been chipping away at chewing tobacco for a long time now. Minor League Baseball (which has no union) banned smokeless tobacco in 1993. The 2012-16 MLB labor agreement disallowed the carrying of packages or tins of tobacco in the ballpark in the presence of fans. Also, certain MLB cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. had already banned smokeless tobacco in stadiums. The Milwaukee City Council approved its own ban just last week.

The NCAA ejects both the player and his manager if a player is caught dipping.

Just two and a half years ago, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died at 54 after a battle with salivary gland cancer. He attributed his diagnosis to three decades of smokeless tobacco use. The high-profile death has revved up the process of curbing smokeless tobacco from baseball.

According to a Sports Illustrated article earlier this week, one-third of current MLB players use smokeless tobacco. Deadspin notes that because the incoming ban does not apply to players who have suited up for even just one MLB game, smokeless tobacco will take at least 10-15 years to totally be cleared from the game. For reference, the NHL introduced a similar rule for the 1979-1980 season, but Craig MacTavish was still playing without a helmet in the 1996-97 season.

But there is no doubt the CBA's ban of chew has a direction and a purpose. Smokeless tobacco has been around baseball for a century -- Babe Ruth smoked and chewed before dying of throat cancer at age 53 in 1948.

And now, it's time for dip to dip from the game.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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