Red Sox manager Terry Francona is trying to quit the use of chewing tobacco this season. To do this and keep himself true to his word, he has a bet with Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino.

The bet takes course over the entire season. If Francona wins, Lucchino has to donated 20K to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and if Francona loses, he will have to donate 20K to the charity of Lucchino’s choosing.

So far so good for Francona, who has so far resisted the urges of wanting a dip. He even has to deal with the players rubbing it in his face or putting it under his nose so he can smell it.

“The players are horrible. They know it’s killing me,” Francona said prior to yesterday’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates. “Ortiz is putting it under my nose. I saw a bag there, man, I actually smelled it. It was wonderful, but I’m not going to do it. I love it, but I made the bet big enough so I wouldn’t.”

“It’s just been second nature. The day I put my uniform on, I put a chew in my mouth,” he said. “I don’t touch it in the winter. I never wanted to, but the day I get to spring training, I want a chew. I’ve been here a month, and I’ve not been chewing, and I miss it. But I haven’t done it, and I’ll try the best I can not to.

“I’m not proud of the fact that I do it. I know it’s horrible. I get mail, and my children (don’t like it). It’s a bad habit, and I’m trying not to do it.”

What’s the bigger motivator, money or pride?

“I have no pride,” he said with a smile. “If it was pride, I’d be knee-deep in tobacco right now.”

Once having that habit, I can understand what Francona is going through. It’s not an easy thing to do especially going cold turkey. I agree with him on the fact that alot of has to deal with a certain routine. For me, it was when I had to drive long distances for work. It gave me something to do while I was driving if I wasn’t talking on the phone.

Also, like Francona, my habit started because of baseball. I spent almost 10 years working in the minor leagues where tobacco use is illegal. There was the constant worries of whether or not the tobacco police were gonna come and fine your ass. If you got caught with it, it was a $300 fine. And thats just as an employee. If an umpire caught a player with it during the game, he was ejected from the game and would have to pay the fine. Plus the manager would also be ejected and be fined as well. We all know that the fine would be payed by the player because the manager didn’t do anything wrong other than making sure his players didn’t do it.

The good thing from working in the front office is that we were notified when the tobacco police were coming. This gave us time to get rid of ours and also warn the players and coaches that get rid of theirs. I think in my time in minor league baseball, only one or two players ever got caught by the tobacco police. And that was because of their own stupidity.

I do have a funny story from my days in Albany, Georgia again. And yes it involves Butch Wynegar again. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you who we were playing that game, but I remember being in the dugout sitting there talking to a player when there was a bad call by the umpire that didn’t go our way. Our manager, Wynegar, went out to argue the call. About half way out to the umpire, he stopped running and put his hand over his mouth, took out the dip in his mouth, and bent over to tie his shoe. While pretending to tie his shoe, he dropped the dip into the grass and was sure to step on when he got up. He gets back to the dugout and goes your not gonna believe this. So I said what happened Butch. He goes did you see me tie my shoe on the way to argue the call. I said yeah. He goes I got about half way out there and realized I had a dip in my mouth so I had to get rid of it. We all just started laughing when we heard that one. Needless to say, he got fined in kangaroo court for that one.

I’d like to end this post by saying to the kids, that chewing tobacco usage is bad. For one, it is a gross habit. Two, it’s not healthy at all. Three, it can be an expensive habit. Four, one tin of dip is the equivalent of 4 packs of cigarettes. Stop and think about that for a second. Four packs of cigarettes. Thats a heck of alot of smokes and a lot of nicotine. If you would like to learn more about the effects of chewing tobacco, click here.