So, last night when Raul Ibanez lost one in the tenth sending the Phils to yet another victory I had texts coming in from a multitude of states. The sheer elation was palpable. Everyone loves this guy. He inspires you to curse at the television when he does amazing. Last night I envision a lot of Phillies fans beating their chests and then spitting profanity laced insults at the Mets as Ibanez circled the bases. It’s been a crazy 60 games. I’m not listening to any of the Ibanez detractors or spectulation. The only boost this guy’s getting is from the giant wad of tobacco that’s always in his lip.
Is it appropriate to chew in this day and age? Probably not. Sometimes you are addicted to nicotine, though, and you have to represent. Baseball players have been chewing forever. The ’93 Phillies were probably one of the great dipping teams of all-time. Even if you don’t chew, the thought repulses you, it is a little comforting to see one of your favorite players with a lip in. For me, it signifies a certain type of player. Guys that pack lips don’t go prancing into second to break up a double play.
The fact that Ibanez throws down with poisonous weed makes me think he might be able to keep carrying the Phils offense. Maybe the Phils had gotten a little clean cut in recent years. I’m fairly sure Pat Burrell dipped, but not with the flair of Raul. Ibanez joins a distinguised list of great chewers. Guys like Dykstra, Manny, Wade Boggs, “Notorious” Nick Swisher holds it down in NY these days for the Yankees, and of course the grandfather of the tobacco game will always be Jim Leyland. This guy is a straight up fiend. He might have cigarette smoke pumped through the vents in his house. How he still has a functioning respitory system and not a mouth riddled with holes I’ll never know.
I’m not advocating chewing. I never threw in a lip. Probably the reason my baseball career never really had a pinnacle. But, if you see one of your favorite players flying around the bases with some chaw spilling out of their lip take comfort. You’ve found yourself someone gloriously old school.