I’ve often wondered whether any adults considered Big League Chew a gateway to chewing tobacco, or at least a threat because it made chewing tobacco seem cool. I don’t think there’s anything that could make chewing tobacco seem cool. The few friends of mine who did it were enough to turn me off, especially when they came up to me at school with a huge lump below their bottom lip to ask if I could tell they had “a dip in”. Except they pronounced it “difth” because they had a big fucking wad of dried leaves stuck next to their gums.
I was a kid in Naperville back in the early 80s where they made this. Kids would sneak into the warehouse and steal boxes of the stuff and then pass it around in school. My first taste of BLC was surely illicit. #GoodOlDays
Depends on how you define “cool.” I grew up in semi-farm country, and while I found it pretty repulsive the FFA kids seemed to think it was cool.
Also, obligatory Robert Earl Keen:
As a kid, I always liked Jerky Chew. Could get flavor from it much longer than normal jerky. http://www.jerky.com/products/beef-jerky-chew
Tobacco terminology is strange. Growing up in rural agricultural Indiana, the stuff to which you refer was exclusively called dip.
Chewing tobacco or “chew” (which is what Big League emulates) is, in my mind, ■■■■■ whole or roughly chopped leaves that one literally chews in the mouth, keeping the wad of them between cheek and tooth/gum when not gnawing.
Dip, by contrast, is ■■■■■ shredded or ground tobacco which is packed between the lower front lip or cheek and gums and is not removed for periodic mastication. It sometimes comes in a teabag like packet to make it less of a mess.
Both chewers and dippers spit, but chewers spit even more profusely than dippers (hence the prevalence of spittoons in the public institutions of America’s not-too-distant past).
Chew use is nonexistent among those under ~60 in my experience and most people under ~30 (especially city folks) don’t know it exists.
Then there’s snuff, which is finely powdered dry tobacco to be inhaled through the nose, and snus, which is like dip but goes in the top lip and doesn’t involve as much expectoration.
For whatever reason, many people (and a few producers) call dip snuff, and colloquially people call dip chew as well.
I was always grossed out by the mouthfeel (lipfeel?) of dip and was ambivalent about my gramps’ chew. Snuff I could probably get addicted to, though, plus it’s not entirely revolting hygienically/aesthetically.
Baccy tokk! Anyway…
I’ve fond memories of Big League Chew. Also whatever bubble gum product came in a little pink jug… Bubble Jug? Little beads of gum in a dry mix with flavored sugar… I ate it instead of chewing it much because it was so intensely sugary and peculiarly thin in the mouth unless chewed for a good long while.
For those of you who, like me, couldn’t read this article and not go on to wonder how chewing tobacco became so deeply associated with baseball players in particular:
something to chew on, for certain
You’ve reminded me that friend’s grandfather had (I think) a brand of chew that came in packets that looked like Oreos. This was at least a decade before Big League Chew. Something tells me I would have been greatly disappointed if I’d ever tried to eat one.
San Francisco just outlawed the use of dip/chaw in ballparks, even by players. California as a whole is likely to follow. (The question of enforcement has not been addressed, of course. SF’s municipal government is pretty big on toothless symbolic gestures.)
Short-term, that ought to be good for BLC, but long-term, eventually kids maybe won’t even know what it’s supposed to be referencing, so it’ll lose that “just like a grownup” cachet.
(ETA: “Here, chew gum; sunflower seeds and gum.” - J.T. Snow) Together at last!
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