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8 Reasons Why Do Baseball Players Chew Gum

Nowadays, it is not an uncommon thing to see baseball players chewing gum and even spitting it out during a game.

This can be spotted both in film and in real life. But have you actually ever wondered why do baseball players chew gum?

In the past, many players would have chewed smokeless tobacco during a baseball game.

However, there has been more restrictions and even full bans on chewing tobacco during sports as of recent years.

Naturally, this is because of increasing health concerns. Out of the sports that banned the use of tobacco, baseball was one of them. .

Major League Baseball (MLB), for instance, had banned the use of tobacco in the year 2016.

As a result of this, chewing gum now acts as a substitute to tobacco.

Those players who were not already chewing gum in the first place, turned to doing it as an alternative after the tobacco restriction was put into place.

But why do baseball players have to always chew on something during a game?

Here are some reasons why most baseball players will likely chew gum throughout the course of the game.

For Better Concentration And Focus

Baseball player making a gum bubble.
Baseball Player Chewing Gum Bubble by Minda Haas Kuhlmann (CC BY 2.0)

Why do baseball players chew gum?

The first reason why baseball players chew gum during a game is to increase alertness and improve their focus and concentration.

Over the years, a number of studies had done extensive research on the effectiveness of chewing gum when it comes to its ability of improving concentration.

Findings had concluded that chewing gum “enhances attention” and helps you to concentrate on what you are doing.

These are very useful aspects when it comes to baseball.

Every baseball player must have good concentration as well as alertness.

He must also have outstanding focus on the game and what is going on.

As a result of this, baseball players will chew gum to help them increase their focus and their attention on the game.

In turn, they may additionally be able to increase their performance a considerable deal.

To Reduce Anxiety And To De-stress

Chewing gum has been found to help you de-stress and can even help to reduce anxiety levels.

For a professional baseball player, a game can often be stressful and can have a number of moments of intense periods of tension.

Action can happen abruptly during the game and players need to be very prepared for moments like this.

A baseball game can cause anyone – even professional baseball players – to feel a pressure to do well.

Everybody will want to perform to the best of their ability.

As a result of this, a baseball player may feel anxious and in turn become distracted and perform poorly.

Due to its de-stressing and tension relieving qualities, baseball players may chew gum to reduce the stress and tension they may feel during a game.

Overall, it can help boost the performance of a baseball player and help him succeed in the end.

It Helps To Combat The Dirt In A Baseball Player’s Mouth

Baseball player sliding in the dirt.

Being an outdoor sport, baseball does have all potential of being full of dirt, dust, sand, and even mud at times.

When a baseball player slides into a base, it is possible that he will kick up some dirt or sand into the air.

Some of this dirt may end up in the eyes as well as the mouth.

Dirt rising up into the air can also be the result of a baseball player diving face first onto the ground or falling.

This is especially true when it comes to those playing on an open field, in particular one which has a considerable amount of dirt.

Getting some dirt on their mouth is an aspect of baseball that players simply have no control over and often cannot avoid.

For this very reason, a lot of the time baseball players end up with some dirt in their mouth.

This is a considerable and frustrating problem to many players, as dirt or even sand in the mouth is gritty and does not taste good.

As a way to combat the dirt in one’s mouth, chewing gum is often used by baseball players.

Gum picks up all the dirt or earth inside of the mouth and can then be spat out.

Not only does gum clear the mouth, but it also gets rid of the earthy taste.

This bad after taste of the dirt can easily linger in a player’s mouth.

However, chewing gum produces more saliva and moisture, thus being able to help get rid of the dirt taste.

To Make Time Pass More Quickly During The Game

For many players, especially fielders, baseball can be a rather slow sport. It requires a lot of waiting and patience.

Often baseball games last for a very long time, as they are not timed but will usually only finish after the ninth inning.

There can be many home runs during a game, and long whiles without any action on the part of a player.

As a result, baseball can even get boring for fans if it lasts for a lot of hours at time.

But it is not just fans that have the possibility of getting bored due to the long game.

The players themselves, could even get easily bored waiting until they can perform an action in the game.

Even though it is not much, chewing gum can still give a player something to do, just as it would for any regular person.

Chewing gum can make time pass more quickly and it is better than doing nothing at all whilst waiting.

Prevents Dry Mouth

Baseball game in bright sun.

As well as getting particles of dirt in their mouth, some baseball players also chew gum to prevent a dry mouth.

Baseball season is conducted throughout the course of the spring all the way up to the fall. It is often carried out even in some very high temperatures.

A player may very likely get a dry mouth in the summer months or when playing in high heat.

As well as that, they could also get a dry mouth due to stress or feelings of anxiety and tension.

No immediate access to water or any other fluids, especially for fielders, is another reason which can contribute to getting a dry mouth.

Gum, whether it is bubblegum or regular chewing gum, can be effective in combating this.

It increases saliva production and produces more moisture in the mouth.

If dry mouth is a problem for a baseball player, then they often turn to chewing gum as an effective solution.

Helps Baseball Players Remember The Number Of Outs In An Inning

Another issue some baseball players may face is remembering the number of outs in an inning.

To help them remember the amount of outs, some baseball players may use gum.

How does this even work?

Basically, a baseball player will spit out their old gum, and get a fresh piece of gum for every new out.

This will help them in counting the amount of outs in an inning, even if the player have a poor memory.

They can just subtract how many pieces of gum are left from the original amount.

They will then be able to find out how many outs they have done and how much still have to complete.

Because Of Superstition

Horseshoe and shamrock.

As a result of superstition, baseball players may simply chew gum because of the fact that they believe it will bring them luck.

This particular idea is often passed around baseball players and can go on for years or even many decades.

Thus, some players may chew gum thinking that it may increase their performance and outcome.

On the other hand, some baseball players have experienced past luck while chewing gum.

Therefore, they might be inclined to do the same thing again in hopes that they will get the same success.

Although some may not believe in such superstitions, there are some who have a strong conviction in it.

For Fun Or Out Of Habit

One obvious reason behind why baseball players chew gum is due to the enjoyment factor in it.

Just like a lot of regular people, including any of us, players may chew gum simply for fun or out of force of habit.

In fact, chewing gum at each and every baseball game may turn it into being a vital part of the whole thing.

As a result of this, baseball players will be sure to always make it a habit of having chewing gum with them when coming to a game.

What Kinds Of Gum Do Baseball Players Most Often Chew?

Young baseball player chewing a gum.

Baseball players are known to chew all sorts of gum during a game.

This is often bubblegum, which helps satisfy the craving of smokeless tobacco and acts as healthy substitute.

But what kinds of gum do baseball players most often chew during games?

The Big League Chew

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Before tobacco was ultimately banned by a number of baseball leagues, a certain gum was invented to decrease the use of smokeless tobacco.

This particular bubblegum was named the Big League Chew .

Invented around the year 1980 by Ron Nelson, it comes in a number of various flavors and lasts a long time.

This is what has made it incredibly popular among baseball players.

Dubble Bubble

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This particular bubble gum is often used by Major League players and preferred over any other gum.

Dubble Bubble  comes in a number of different flavors.

This gum is frequently spotted in the dugouts of baseball players. However, unlike the Big League Chew, its flavor doesn’t last for a very long time.

What Other Things Do Baseball Players Chew?

Apart from chewing gum, baseball players will also use other things to chew and snack on.

These Include the following:

Sunflower Seeds

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Sunflower seeds are another very popular thing for baseball players to chew on.

Sunflower seeds are eaten as a snack, as they give the players something healthy to nip on.

Chewing on the shells and spitting then out can also have the same effect on cleaning a player’s mouth from dirt as chewing gum.

In addition to this, when salted, Sunflower Seeds  can good at maintaining electrolytes.

This is especially important during hot weather and high temperatures in the summer months.

Also, it is a great way to ensure hydration when baseball players have no access to water for a long time during a game.


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Peanuts are another favored snack among baseball players aside from sunflower seeds.

Since they are often salted, they have the same effect on electrolytes as sunflower seeds.

Peanut shells can be a nuisance when scattered in the dugouts, so sometimes they are not allowed.

In this case, players will eat peanuts without the shells.

Peanuts  have frequently been sold at baseball stadiums due to its popularity among those who play baseball.


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When it comes to snacking on nuts, it is peanuts that have won the favor over the majority of baseball players.

However, some players will still chew on Pistachios  as an alternative to the more popular peanuts.


In conclusion, why do baseball players chew gum?

There are a number of reasons why they do it, including the fact that it acts as a substitute for tobacco.

Some players do it out of superstition and the belief that it may bring them good luck.

Most often, however, baseball players will chew gum to enhance their attention, for better concentration, and to relieve tension and stress. .

Better concentration along with less stress and reduced tension means an increased performance during the game.

Baseball players will also chew gum to clean their mouth from dirt and to prevent a dry mouth.

Besides, many players simply chew gum for enjoyment and fun, out of sheer habit, or to give them something to do.

Baseball games can drag on for a very long time, with periods during the game where a player does not experience any action.

Gum may have slight effects on reducing boredom and giving one something to do.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

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