Though I’d much rather concentrate on a pair of consecutive wins in Miami — not to mention the club’s hitting streak record being broken by the urine soaked hands of Moises Alou — the Newark Star Ledger’s Don Burke quizzes a pair of Mets relievers about their chewing tobacco habits. If you needed any further testament to the habit-forming qualities of the stuff, consider that Scott Schoeneweis (above), despite having lost a testicle to cancer, continues to chew.
“I’m addicted to it,” said the Schoeneweis, who said he doesn’t dip while he’s pitching because it gives him cotton mouth. “I’m not proud of it. But I’m a good person most of the time.
“If that’s the worst thing I do then, oh well, so be it.”
“I’m going to die when the good Lord takes me,” said Mets reliever Billy Wagner, “whether it’s from this or something else. If you’re going to go, you’re going to go. That’s the way it is.”
Like Schoeneweis, Wagner is among a handful of Mets who dip. Wagner, who was raised in rural Virginia and began chewing as a teenager, always has a six-pack of Copenhagen and a pouch of Red Man in his locker.
“You have your vices, I have mine,” Wagner said.
Schoeneweis is involved with Ronald McDonald House Charities and makes appearances on behalf of the foundation. His father-in-law, Ken Barun, retired last year as the president and CEO of the organization.
During his talks with the young cancer patients, Schoeneweis lets them know he understands what they’re gong through.
He said he doesn’t think he’s sending a mixed message.
“I’m not walking around with (tobacco) at speaking engagements,” Schoeneweis said. “I keep it at the field. I know that the camera is not on me very often and in the game I don’t use it. I’m not flaunting it when I’m signing autographs and talking to kids.
“Besides, that’s not the point of the message. …Whatever I do after the fact is my own personal business and has nothing to do with the message.”
“I know plenty of guys whose faces haven’t fallen off though,” said Schoeneweis, who said he has always gotten a clean bill of health when screened each spring. “They just tell me to move (the dip) around.
“We’ll see what happens. Sometimes I get a little nervous about it. But I really don’t think about it. I didn’t do anything to get cancer (in college), so it’s a crap shoot. My grandmother smoked 700 cigarettes a day and lived fine. Certain people don’t do anything and they get brain cancer.”
Speaking of vets who’ve always exercised terrific judgement, Captain Red Ass just took Florida’s Chris Sneddon over the left field wall for a 2-run HR, as the Mets and Fish are tied at 2.