Tag Archives: baseball

An open letter to Big League Chew

Dear Big League Chew:

I’m writing for several reasons. I wanted to start out this letter by writing, “I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news,” but I’ve decided against that particular opening. First of all, it works much better face to face, because I can make it more interactive, like, “What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?” and then you could decide, depending on whether or not you’d like the good news first, to build you up for the inevitable bad news. Or maybe you’d prefer to get the bad news out of the way, take that bitter medicine, and then take the good news to sort of chase down the negativity.


Anyway, I’d like to point out that I’ve always been a Big League Chew fan. Ever since I was a little kid, I preferred your gum to other little kids’ chewing gums. I’ve never been a fan of Bubble Tape. Between you and me, although I’ve never busted out the tape measure, I’ve always been skeptical about there being a full six feet rolled up in that package. Bubble Yum? Bubbleicious? No thank you. I did flirt with switching to Skittles Gum as my go-to brand, but after the novelty of them tasting and having the same chew as Skittles candy wore off, I realized that it would be Big League Chew for life.

Even if I didn’t get the reference when I was a little kid, that the pouch of gum was supposed to be shaped like a pouch of chewing tobacco, that the thin strands of gum were supposed to be similarly identical, it didn’t stop me from fully enjoying your product. Whenever I watched a pro baseball player chewing something from a pouch, which, to be perfectly honest, I can’t really ever remember seeing, but maybe if I saw a movie or something where the pitcher was chewing some chew, I’d just assume it was Big League Chew.

I love Big League Chew despite any baseball references, although the name made the baseball connection almost automatic. Also the cartoon baseball player on the pouch. But I prefer Big League Chew for several non-baseball related reasons:


  1. By not having individual pieces of gum, I’m free to choose exactly how much gum I want in my mouth at any given time. I’m not bound to individual sticks, having to decide between one or two. With Big League Chew, I can chew the equivalent of one and a half sticks, or one and three quarters sticks. It means more options for me, which I love.
  2. Unlike the other big gums, like the ones I’ve mentioned before, Big League Chew is definitely the chewiest. Nothing is worse than a big mouthful of gum that offers no resistance to your teeth. You’ll be chewing and chewing and it won’t stay in a cohesive wad. It’s totally unsatisfying, too liquid-like, too easy for stray pieces to get stuck in between the big molars in the back of your mouth.
  3. Big League Chew gets points from me in regards to flavor selection. I like how you guys keep it simple. Regular. Grape. One time I saw Green Apple, I think, although that might have been a dream. Regardless, it’s usually just regular. It makes the decision making process really easy, on my end.

Having said all of that, I do have to mention some areas in which I think there’s definitely room for improvement. (Remember the whole good news/bad news thing? Yeah, so I gave you the good news first.) Where Big League Chew has the best chew, like I said before, I think you guys could work on taste. While the initial few chomps definitely pack a lot of flavor, I feel like the intensity of that flavor drops precipitously after a minute, a minute and a half. I’m not expecting it to last forever, but maybe three minutes, four minutes, that might be an improvement.

Other than that, I just want to say, keep up the great work. I love Big League Chew to the point where I refuse to acknowledge any other chewing gums. In fact, I can’t even really chew anymore, because I’ve spent the majority of my life chewing Big League Chew. My jaw doesn’t close right, making chewing gum an impossibility. But I still buy it anyway. I’ll bring the pouch to my face and take deep breaths in. I’ll put some in my mouth and let the flavor just soak through my tongue. It’s still great.

Big League Chew For Life,

Rob G.

PS – One time I wrote to Pepperidge Farm telling them how much I love Milanos and they sent me a whole case of cookies. Any chance you’d like to up the ante? Let me know.

A little league sob story

When I was a little kid my parents always signed me up for little league baseball. I started when I was in the first grade and kept going all the way until fourth or fifth. But I went to a Catholic school that didn’t have any sports teams, so it was always a bunch of public school kids, and me. That was terrifying, the first day of practice, my mom would just drop me off to my randomly assigned team where I’d encounter a bunch of boys my age who already knew each other from school.

The early years were easy enough, because from my own experiences as a I kid I feel that people don’t start acting inherently mean toward each other until like the third or fourth grade. After that it’s every person for themselves. There are cool kids, there are kids that are cool with the cool kids, and then there’s always like one or two kids that don’t fit, that take the brunt of everybody else’s pent up frustrations.

I’m not trying to paint a woe-is-me picture of my childhood. I definitely wasn’t the cool kid in grade school, but I wasn’t on the opposite end either. Except for when springtime came around and one or two times a week I’d get dropped off at baseball practice, fed to the lions of this whole little kid social structure that I wasn’t a part of.

My last season of baseball was definitely the worst. The fourth or fifth grade boys were outright hostile toward me. There were three especially, one of them was the coach’s son, all three of them were good at baseball. I had no relation to the coach, no real association with anybody, and I sucked at all sports.

Going through my memories, I picture the three boys always the same way, the cool kid in the middle flanked by his two lieutenants at either side. I don’t even remember specifically what they would say to tease and harass me, I just know that I hated it, that I dreaded going to practice. They would throw baseballs at me when I wasn’t looking, stupid little tricks here and there to torment me.

And I couldn’t even complain, ever. One, little kids all hate tattletales, and so if you ever tattle, it’ll get even worse. Two, this kid’s dad was the coach. He was coaching his son and all of his friends from public school. And me, the one random kid from a different school, the one who didn’t really know how to play baseball.

I made it through the season alive. It wasn’t that bad, probably because it was only once or twice a week. Although I can’t imagine having to deal with something like that every day. But the whole season, my whole relationship with these kids, my last real experience playing baseball, it all culminated at this end of the season lunch hosted by the little league.

It was every team in the league, every player and his dad, at some catering hall. There were trophies given out, some random MLB player to sign autographs. There were raffles, free t-shirts, stuff like that. I remember at some point during the festivities these three goons had me surrounded. Not wanting to deal with their bullshit, I had this moment of rage, of pure fury. I picked up a plastic knife, probably the flimsiest weapon imaginable, and I started chasing one of the kids around a picnic table. The place was packed, and we all lost each other pretty quickly amongst the crowd.

But then maybe ten minutes later, I’m sitting with my dad, and all of the sudden my coach comes out of nowhere with the three idiots by his side. He starts yelling at me, yelling toward my dad, claiming that I threatened his son with a knife. The coach was this big fat asshole, much older than my dad, and he’s over here spitting and yelling, like he had any idea what was really going on, just blindly taking his son’s side.

And what about these three kids, these three tough guys? They spend a whole season picking on me, and when I finally stand up for myself they go off running to the coach, crying, making up some ridiculous story about me being the problem? Come on.

What gets me is that even though it all happened so long ago, that none of it really mattered, like I have my life and none of that nonsense did anything to affect where I’m at right now, I’m going through all of these memories and I’m still getting pissed off, I’m still feeling, if not the anger, then I’m viscerally feeling, remembering exactly what the anger felt like. I was a little kid, I was backed into a corner, I reacted, and then next thing I know I have this coach yelling at me and my dad’s telling me to try and get along better with the other kids.

I love playing sports

I wasn’t good at sports until I was like twenty-five years old. It’s like, once I got past high-school, out of college, on my own for a few years, once I was at the point where I’d really never find myself in a setting to play sports, I got good at them. And when I say good, I’m speaking relatively. I’m sure if you talked to my friends or family members, they’d say I still suck at sports. But I’m much better than I was when I was younger.

From an early age, I always sucked at sports. Like most little kids in suburbia, my parents signed me up for everything, t-ball, baseball, soccer, basketball. I was terrible at everything. I remember specifically this one baseball game – I must have been pretty little still because it was the type of baseball where somebody’s dad did all of the pitching – and my dad was like, “Robbie, if you get a hit today I’ll take you to the comic book store.”

Jesus Christ I wanted to go to the comic book store. Superman had just died and, not being in a socioeconomic position to go out and buy these books every week by myself, I kind of just had to rely on listening to other people talk about it. And there was no Internet and allo of my friends were in the same boat, so nobody knew what they were talking, everybody making up lies about Superman. Please just get a hit. All I have to do it just touch the bat to the ball and it’s comic book time.

I remember not hitting the ball. Maybe there was a foul, but it didn’t count. And I remember my dad taking me anyway, even though I didn’t really come through on my end of the deal. Baseball was tough. Not only because I sucked at sports, but because baseball is so long. Like I like watching baseball, on TV, because there’s plenty of room for snack breaks and video game breaks.

But playing a whole game of baseball? Nine innings? And they always stuck me way in the outfield. So it’s just me, standing there. The chances of another little kid actually hitting a baseball hard enough to make it to where I was standing were infinitesimal. But laying down on the grass yelled at. “Stand up! Pay attention to what’s going on!”

I actually didn’t have that much time to lie down. There were always like one or two dragonflies way out there in the outfield. I mean, yeah, dragonflies don’t do anything, but they’re big, and noisy, and they go about their lives as if human beings don’t exist. Like they don’t make any conscious effort to avoid you. They might come buzzing an inch from your face. That’s pretty nerve wracking. My palms are actually getting sweaty just thinking about it. So yeah, outfield was really this whole stretch of time just trying to avoid these stupid bugs.

And then soccer. I only played one season. It was pretty uncharacteristic of my parents to let me abandon something after only one season, but I sucked at soccer so bad that they had to make an exception to their sports policies. My coach’s name was Ben Dash. His son’s name was Ben Dash. What is it about parents having to coach their own kids? Isn’t there an inherent conflict of interest? Yeah, but I guess it’s a little weirder if you recruit adults with no connection to the kids at all. Still.

One game stands out in my head especially. After being allotted the bare minimum of playing time all season, Coach Dash screams out during one of our games, “G___, in!” I couldn’t believe it. Showtime. I run out onto the field and immediately intercept the ball. Holy shit, I couldn’t believe this was finally happening for me. I hear screaming. Everything’s getting blurry. All of the blood is rushing to my head in excitement. No time to sit down and tremble, I have to keep moving.

Other kids coming at me. I’m dodging them. I’m doing it. There’s the net. Shoot! Blocked, right into the goalie’s hands. “G___, out!” What the hell? I just shot on net. Wait a second, why is everybody laughing? It turned out that I shot on my own goal. All of those kids I dodged? They were my teammates. Even my parents were laughing.

I played the rest of the season, but I swear, and maybe this is some sort of built-in defense mechanism, but that is the only memory that I have of that whole season. That, and some teammate named Arturo, and his dad, who’d stand at the sidelines of every single game and scream, “Pass it to Arturo! Pass it to Arturo!” over and over again, like the only reason any of our parents signed us up for soccer was that somebody we might have the opportunity to pass it to Arturo.

Anyway, I still love playing sports. I love running around. I’m in good shape. I wish I were better when I was younger. I wish I could have had some cool sports memories, maybe like something where I’m a troubled youngster, and I wind up joining some pee-wee hockey league, but the coach isn’t into it, he’s only there because a judge told him he had to do it. But throughout the course of the season we’d all develop really strong bonds, and eventually we’d overcome insurmountable odds to win the championship. That would have been awesome.