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California lawmakers ban tobacco chewing, something Major League Baseball couldn’t do

 Justin Smoak #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays puts chewing tobacco in his mouth in the dugout during MLB game action against the New York Yankees on September 21, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images).
Justin Smoak #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays puts chewing tobacco in his mouth in the dugout during MLB game action against the New York Yankees on September 21, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images).

LOS ANGELES – California lawmakers have taken the first step toward accomplishing something Major League Baseball could never do: Stop players from stuffing those big wads of chewing tobacco into their mouths during games.

With Gov. Jerry Brown signing a bill earlier this week banning the use of smokeless tobacco in all California ballparks, the practice now seems headed toward the sport’s endangered species list.

California has five of Major League teams and owners themselves have been pressing for a ban for years. Last May they got one in San Francisco. In August they got another in Boston. And when Brown signed Assembly Bill 768 on Sunday one was already in the works for Los Angeles.

Major League Baseball still needs buy-in from the players, however, because the statewide ban that takes effect before next season has no provision for enforcement.

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