Why Do Baseball Players Chew Gum? (7 Reasons & 5 Options)
When you watch an MLB game, whether that is live from the stadium or the tv, you will see baseball players chewing gum. In fact, chewing gum has become a viral and well-known thing associated with baseball players that it has reached into cartoons, movies, memes, and so on.
That being said, why do baseball players chew so much gum?
Baseball players chew gum for various reasons such as to relieve stress and help concentration, dry mouth prevention due to baseball’s dusty and dirty nature, and as a chewing tobacco substitute. In addition, chewing gum is a habit for many players, and it’s even used because of superstition.
These reasons are the most common ones why baseball players chew gum, but there are other reasons and even personal ones that aren’t known to others. To understand the reasoning behind chewing gum in baseball, stick with me, and I’ll touch deeper on the subject!
- Why Do Baseball Players Chew Gum?
- What Kind of Gum Do Baseball Players Chew?
- Chewing Gum Alternatives In Baseball
- Can MLB Players Chew Tobacco On the Field?
- My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Why Do Baseball Players Chew Gum?
Generally, there are seven reasons why baseball players chew gum if were not accounting personal reasons why one might chew gum. Let’s take a closer look at the why.
1. Stress relief
When an MLB player steps on the field, it can be quite stressful because tens of thousands of people watch you and expect you to succeed. This can and usually will apply pressure, stress, or anxiety, especially for new players in the league.
Chewing gum can relieve stress, and it’s been proven over and over my multiple types of research and studies, such as one led by Andrew Scholey, a professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
His study shows that stress levels were lower with people chewing gum than people who don’t chew gym by a whopping 16% during mild stress and almost 12% during moderate stress.
In addition, the study shows that gum chewers showed an anxiety reduction when compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17% during mild stress and nearly 10% during moderate stress.
2. Concentration help
Concentration is another great benefit of chewing gum, as it’s proven by science. When you are at-bat on the ninth inning, and the game is tight, it won’t be only stressful, but you will need to find all the concentration and focus you need. Enter, chewing gum!
Returning to the previous study led by Andrew Scholey, he saw a significant performance improvement in gum chewers compared to non-chewers. Even though both people improved their baseline scores in the study, people chewing gum improved their scores over the non-chewers by 67% during moderate stress and 109% in mild stress.
When considering these incredible results, it wouldn’t hurt to try chewing gum on your next baseball game, and who knows, maybe you will surprise your teammates, coaches, and fans!
3. Dry mouth prevention
Baseball is a mostly summer outdoor sport usually played when it’s at least warm, depending on the location you live. That being said, drought, dust, and high temperatures are familiar for that nice summer weather, and it’s a recipe for dry mouth.
Dry mouth is yet another reason to chew gum because it has been proven to increase natural saliva production up to 10 times the normal rate! That will cure your dry mouth in no time.
Just make sure to use sugar-free gum and hydrate yourself with water.
4. Remove the Dirt Taste
When you’re on a baseball field, players are sliding, running, and diving, which will dust the air. This will end up in your mouth, especially as an infielder, which will give you a taste of dirt.
The taste of dirt isn’t only unpleasant, but it causes drought to your mouth. Sugar-free gum is highly recommended to prevent dirt taste in your mouth.
For some people, sugar-free sounds like a curse word, whereas it sounds like heaven in my ear. Sugar-free doesen’t mean boring and tasteless.
On the contrary, sugar-free chewing gum can have all the flavors that other products have without the nasty feeling that will get stuck on your teeth!
Habit is probably one of the biggest reasons people chew gum in the first place. That includes baseball players, even when chewing gum is beneficial for various other reasons.
Anyways, chewing gum is made to keep your teeth healthy by preventing tooth decay, whitening teeth, and reducing bad breath. I personally use chewing gum for these reasons from time to time, but also because it’s fun!
Chewing gum gives you something to do, and you can even blow chewing gum bubbles. Some people feel bored without chewing gum, and that can be the case on a baseball field when you are waiting for the batter to bat on your way.
Baseball is one of the most superstitious sports out there. There are various superstitions and ways to prevent bad luck in baseball, and chewing gum is one of them.
For example, some baseball players won’t stop chewing a single piece of bubble gum if they have it in their mouth when they succeed. That’s because the gum was of great luck, and you can’t jeopardize the game by throwing out your gum.
There are many other examples, and who is to say whether it works or not. However, by believing that you are lucky, you will get luckier!
7. Chewing tobacco substitute
Tobacco isn’t seen on the MLB anymore, and it’s a big deal because it was very popular once upon a time. Naturally, it’s just hard to stop something that you did half of the baseball games you were on. That’s why it needed to be replaced with something.
Chewing gum is a healthy alternative to chewing tobacco and one that tastes better as well. You can get chewing gum literally in dozens or hundreds of flavors, and it has many health and mind benefits. I highly recommend gum instead of chewing tobacco.
What Kind of Gum Do Baseball Players Chew?
There are hundreds if not thousands of chewing gum brands in the world. Yet, only a handful are favored clearly by the baseball players. The specific type of chewing gum that is the most popular is bubble gum, as it has a unique and rich texture. Oh, and the bubbles are fun to blow!
Below you can find the three most used bubble gums by baseball players.
1. Big League Chew
The world-famous Big League Chew bubble gum is the most used chewing gum brand in baseball, especially Major League Baseball.
Big League Chew is so popular in the MLB because it’s an official baseball brand of chewing gum.
Another reason why Big League Chew is so popular is that it’s easily consumed from a pouch, and it’s shredded! It’s really fun bubble gum.
2. Dubble Bubble Original Bubble Gum
Dubble Bubble Original is also found in the pockets of many baseball players. The reason why this brand is favored over many others is that they are individually wrapped.
This makes it super easy to take a couple and place it in your pocket. You don’t need to carry a whole bag of gum with you as a baseball player, which is just convenient and easy.
Dubble Bubble is available in huge bags, so it’s more than enough for the whole baseball team for a long time. It’s also one of if not the most American bubble gum out there! Chew away.
3. Hubba Bubba
Hubba Bubba is one of the world’s most famous bubble gum brands and by far the most known from my childhood as well.
The amazing Hubba Bubba comes in a variety of flavors and shapes. The most convenient one is the Hubba Bubba stick containing five large Hubba Bubba pieces.
Another popular way to eat this bubble gum is a Hubba Bubba Tape. You get a small puck of Hubba Bubba strip that you can easily measure out and eat the amount you want. The tape is a really fun way to eat Hubba Bubba too!
In addition to these three very popular bubble gums used by baseball players, others such as Quench Gum, Bubbe Yum, Bubblicious, among other widely used varieties.
Chewing Gum Alternatives In Baseball
Some people dislike chewing gum or don’t want to chew it for whatever reason. As chewing gum is a replacement for chewing tobacco, there are replacements for gum. Below you can find the five most popular ones.
1. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a common ”delicacy” to chew on when playing baseball. They are often salted, so they taste good, and the crunchy texture is more than pleasant. However, you need to chew them properly as they can get stuck in your throat, and that’s not only unpleasant, but it can throw you off focus very fast.
When it comes to nutrition, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, phosphorus, copper, iron, among other things.
Sunflower seeds are great for cardiovascular health, blood glucose levels, cancer cells, among all the things listed why baseball players chew chewing gum.
2. Pumpkin seeds
If you like the idea of chewing seeds, but sunflower seeds aren’t for you, then pumpkin seeds are a great alternative for them and chewing gum.
Pumpkin seeds have slightly fewer calories and slightly more protein than sunflower seeds. Although, you won’t probably consume hundreds of grams which makes the difference quite small.
However, you will get more beneficial vitamins and minerals from pumpkin seeds such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zink. Whichever seed you choose to chew on, it’s beneficial.
Personally, I choose sunflower seeds because I like them better, thanks to the saltiness and fun texture.
3. Beef jerky
If you’re a sucker for protein, a very pleasant and gummy texture, and an incredible taste, beef jerky such as Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is made for you. Although, it can get quite expensive when consumed regularly.
In addition to huge amounts of protein, you will get a lot of iron, vitamin B12, folate, phosphorus, and zinc. Other benefits include a long shelf life and ease of carrying on a baseball field.
If you prefer vegan choices, beef jerky isn’t for you, unfortunately. Yet, there is vegan beef jerky available, thanks to the innovative times we live in.
Nuts resemble seeds in a way but are more ”foody” products when you think about them. Peanuts are a great snack and pleasant to chew on. However, if you don’t want fast weight gain, you need to be mindful of what kind of nuts you are eating and how much.
Many people think that nuts are super healthy, and most are. However, they are almost entirely fat and very high in calories. That’s why if you binge nuts regularly every time you play baseball, you should get healthy, unsalted raw or roasted nuts.
In addition, you shouldn’t consume hundreds of grams of nuts daily because that’s on its own +1000 calories easy.
My favorite nuts are cashews from Jiva Organics because they are healthy and taste amazing. Other popular nuts eaten by baseball players are pistachios!
5. Breath mints
If you prefer low or practically no-calorie something to concentrate on when playing baseball but not gum, breathe mints are the go-to choice.
You get fresh breath and a nice feel to your mouth by eating breath mints. However, be careful with them because they are very hard and can damage your teeth if you bite them.
Instead, sucking breath mints is the way to go as they last longer and won’t damage teeth, assuming you are using sugar-free mints. Altoid Mints are a great choice for this purpose.
In addition, they are very easy and quick to consume, which makes them a valid alternative for chewing gum.
Can MLB Players Chew Tobacco On the Field?
As one of the reasons why baseball players chew gum is to replace chewing tobacco, can the MLB players even chew tobacco when on the field?
Since 2016, Major League Baseball has banned chewing tobacco in all 30 baseball stadiums under the penalty of a fine. The definitive rule was made because of health risks and a poor example for the youth that look up to the baseball players as heroes.
The first act towards chewing tobacco was done in 2011 when the MLB and the player union agreed that the players couldn’t publicly chew tobacco because of poor examples and all the spitting involved.
It took just five years when a complete ban of smokeless tobacco is now banned in all 30 baseball stadiums.
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.