Dusty Baker's career in Major League Baseball has spanned six decades, so long that it's almost hard to imagine the sport without him. And when it comes to Baker, it's hard not to think of him without his trademark toothpick coming to mind.
Ever since the early 1990s, it's been a staple. During games and during press conferences, Dusty always has his toothpick.
So, how did that habit start? Baker told the story on Tuesday.
"Toothpick came about number one because my dad, he always had a toothpick. If you have something in your teeth, go talk to my dad. Second part, it came about, after I played, I was a batting coach. We were behind, and players called a rally dip [of tobacco]. I got a dip. It made me sick and light-headed, then we scored five runs. Then the next day, they said rally dip again and we got five, six more runs. I think the devil was in charge. Then, I got hooked on dip. I started dipping when I was fishing, dipping when I was hunting.
"Then I said, 'aw, I'm only dipping when I'm fishing and hunting, so I just did it like every day. So I went to my dentist and they told me I was forming some periodontal disease and that dipping wasn't helping. So they told me to go to the Whole Foods to get the Australian chewing sticks, which I have here. Tea tree therapy. Helps me stop dipping -- except, every once in a while, with bases loaded in the ninth, I'll have both them."
Baker then gave his opinion on chewing tobacco being banned in the minor leagues, as well as in ballparks in California. There is now a $250 fine for players who are caught dipping in California stadiums.
"It's a bad influence for the kids. Bigtime. I'll say that. But also they're adults, too, at the same time," he said.