Senators to MLB players: Dump the Dip

On the eve of the World Series, four Democratic Senators Dick Durbin (IL), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Tom Harkin (IA) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) have sent a letter to the Major League Baseball Players Association calling on it to ban the use of all tobacco products on the field, in the dugout, and in the clubhouse at MLB ballparks.

Their argument is an expected 15 million viewers - including many children - will be watching the 2011 World Series. "Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite teams and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products," wrote the Senators.

Recent statistics suggest use of smokeless tobacco is a growing problem with America's youth.

The 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey found smokeless tobacco product involvement has increased by 36 percent among high school boys since 2003, and the proportion of high school boys using smokeless tobacco has climbed to 15 percent.

"This would send a strong message to young baseball fans, who look toward the players as role models, that tobacco use is not essential to the sport of baseball... Major League ballplayers who use smokeless tobacco at games are providing a celebrity endorsement for these products, encouraging many young people to try smokeless tobacco," wrote the Senators.

The letter does not include an appeal to cut back on spitting and scratching, which ballplayers are also frequently caught on camera doing.

The 2011 World Series opens Wednesday night in St. Louis with the Texas Rangers taking on the St. Louis Cardinals, which will air on the FOX Broadcast Network.

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.