Baseball deal means no tobacco can in pocket

Wed, Nov 23
tobacco cansTom Szczerbowski/US PresswireThis sight of tobacco cans in baseball players' back pockets will be no more.

Buried underneath all the headlines about HGH testing and the new playoff format, a small provision in Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement spells doom for a visual detail that has defined the sport's posterior view for generations.

To explain: One of the unique visual aspects of baseball is the sight of a circular outline in a player's back pocket. That outline is, of course, a tin of chewing tobacco. But the new labor agreement prohibits players from carrying tobacco products in their uniforms -- on balance, a good thing, but it means we'll no longer see this little visual signifier. A pity.

In fact, with tobacco canisters now banned, it's worth asking if there's any reason for baseball pants to have pockets anymore -- especially since so many players now turn their pockets inside-out, which looks awful. Ironically, the player who pioneered this style back in the early 2000s, Tony Batista, did it as a way of showing young fans that he wasn't carrying any tobacco. Now no players will carry it, but the pockets remain -- at least for now.