Monday, March 28, 2011

Padres Dipping Their Way In To The History Books

So ESPN wrote a great article a couple of days ago about Tony Gwynn and his battle with salivary gland cancer (read the full one here). He has just been pronounced cancer free and will be returning to the San Diego St. dugout this season, which is awesome. But this article, which focussed on the culture (the dip culture) within the Padres locker room during Gwynn's time there, had some pretty hysterical parts (the parts that don't involve cancer). Here are some of my favorites:

"From 1982 to 2001, the San Diego Padres' clubhouse would reverberate with the most stirring laugh. The sound was part hyena, part grammar school, and even the most jaded veterans would chuckle along with it. Shortstop Garry Templeton would hear the laugh while smoking a cigarette and nod in approval. Pitcher Goose Gossage would hear it while chugging a beer and offer a thumbs up. Third baseman Graig Nettles would hear it while lighting a teammate's shoe on fire and deliver a wink."

"But something was lurking in those same photos. Look closer at the pictures. On the right side of his face, close to his lip, there was always something inside his mouth.

A pinch -- make that a pouch -- of smokeless tobacco."

"To the public, baseball was as American as apple pie. But there were San Diego Padres who actually would eat their pie with tobacco in their cheek. "I literally watched guys have dinner with a dip in their mouth," former Padre Kurt Bevacqua said. "That stuff is flat-out nasty.'"

"It's an addiction from what I hear. I talked to a guy, and I said, 'Put it in perspective for me.' And he said, 'Mark, what's your favorite candy bar?' I said, 'Probably Snickers; if I'm craving something, I really enjoy a Snickers bar.' He goes, 'Well, times that by 100, and that's what a dip is to me. When I wake up in the morning, I have got to have a dip.'"

"Gwynn had had the same morning habit -- brush your teeth, then fire in a dip -- since he was playing rookie ball in Walla Walla, Wash."

"When he was a young major leaguer, he said, he began using -- at his house, at his locker and out in right field -- a can and a half of Skoal every day. You could see the circular can in the back pocket of his baseball pants. He would leave plastic cups full of chew, which were quasi-spittoons, around his family's kitchen. In the late '80s, his young son, Tony Jr., mistook one for a cup of juice and drank it."

"He says he'd sneak out of his house at 2 a.m., "like a criminal,'' to drive to a local convenience store to buy his tobacco. He did this so frequently a woman behind the counter wouldn't want to sell it to him. She knew who he was, knew he was hooked."

I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say we're glad you alright, Tony.


  1. cant wait for the next quasi-spittoon of the week

  2. now that is one dude who i'd kill to play for.