Spitballin' Major League Chew
Fraley devotes a portion of the story to Major League Baseball's official stance on Skoal, Red Man and the like:
MLB would like to rid the game of tobacco's stain.
Clubs cannot provide tobacco to players, a radical change from the days when clubhouses brimmed with cartons of cigarettes, pouches of tobacco and tins of snuff.
In 1993, MLB banned the use of tobacco by all minor-leaguers not on 40-man major-league rosters and therefore not represented by the Major League Baseball Players Association. MLB hoped the bottom-up approach would wean players from tobacco before they reached the majors.
With that in mind, here's an interesting image from across the pond:
While making note of the MLB logo's proximity to the can o' snuff, don't fail to notice the small print:
Not to cast any aspersions at Covee, which, by all appearances, is one kickass Dutch sporting-goods store -- and a company that promptly got back to me when I asked them about the trade in American snuff and their association with MLB.
"We have been in business for over 30 years," Covee's Edwin Corpeleijn writes via e-mail. "We know several people within the MLB organization. They know we have the logo on the site.... I was told, that as long as we keep the colors the same, it is no problem."
As for the market for Copenhagen in the Netherlands, writes Corpeleijn: "Some players like to have the chewing tobacco, so we buy it. I have never tried it and I will never try it, but since it is not prohibited here, we just sell it to satisfy the customer's needs. We have the pay 275% tobacco tax on these items, but players here do not seem to mind."