"Don't get me started on that," he said. "I'm against drug testing. Are we talking about the right to be able to chew or not chew?
"I figure we're 18 years old, we can fight, we can die, we pay taxes, and when we're 21 we can buy liquor or cigarettes. So you should be allowed to chew.
"It's not hurting anybody else -- just yourself. You can do what you want with your body. That's just how I feel about it."
If this is a transitional phase, it was left to Portland manager Russ Nixon to cite the double standard -- and the inherent difficulties.
"You've got different sets of rules," Nixon said. "You've got all these rules in the minor leagues. In Triple-A, you don't have the same rules as the big leagues.
"You've got this constant movement back and forth. If a guy chews and he goes to the big leagues, hell, he can do anything he wants up there. But it's pretty damn tough when he gets back down here to close the (bleep) off. Just be discreet about it. I look the other way."
Nixon recalled that there were even inconsistencies when the majors banned it in 1987.
"They banned it in the home clubhouse, so if a guy wanted (some), he just went to the visiting clubhouse."
dTC Nixon is implying that despite our best efforts to be our brother's keeper, he'll do what the heck he wants to do.
"If you want it, it's there," he said. "It (the current rules) turns them into closet chewers. I think it's just like smoking, which was so prevalent when I played. Everybody smoked. I mean, jeez. It wore out its cycle, and I think the same thing's going to happen with chew."
The problem is that the substance is addictive. All the rules in the world don't stop an addict from plying his habit. The desire has to come from within.
Portland trainer Jim (Doc) Kahmann addressed the addictive qualities.
"Eventually, it (the ban) will be good, because there's so many problems it can create -- lip cancer, throat cancer, addiction.
". . . But it's so tough (to control). It's been a part of baseball so long. It's a weeding-out process. You just can't go cold turkey. You can't say, 'I quit.' You just can't.
"Some guys are addicted to it. I had a roommate who it looked like had lip cancer. He'd go to sleep with a dip in his mouth. He'd wake up and there would be dip on his bed from drooling. He needed that dip."