A spokesperson for Washington, D.C. city council member Yvette Alexander told Outside the Lines on Friday that Alexander, who chairs the Committee on Health and Human Services, plans to introduce a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco at the city's sports venues, including Nationals Park. The proposal is similar to bans enacted in San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles that are now in effect for home games of the Giants, Red Sox and Dodgers.
The city councils of Chicago and New York have approved bans for Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has scheduled a ceremony next Wednesday to sign New York's ban into law. California has approved a similar statewide ban to be implemented in 2017, affecting the big league ballparks in Anaheim, Oakland and San Diego. Toronto's legislature is also considering such a measure. If Washington and Toronto enact smokeless tobacco laws for 2017, 12 of Major League Baseball's 30 stadiums would have bans in place next year under local and state laws.
In labor negotiations that have begun between MLB and the MLB Players Association, the union is expected to oppose owners' efforts to adopt a leaguewide ban. The MLBPA successfully kept such a ban out of the five-year collective bargaining agreement negotiated in 2011.
MLB's chief legal officer, Dan Halem, told Outside the Lines last week that anybody in baseball -- including players -- who violates local smokeless tobacco laws could also face penalties from MLB at the discretion of commissioner Rob Manfred. But a union official said, on the condition of anonymity, that MLB would face a fight if it attempts to discipline players in such matters.