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We’ve talked before about how smoking a cigar is a time honored sports tradition of celebration and success. Red Aurbauch, former Celtics coach is the most famous example, but athletes have been celebrating their triumphs by smoking cigars as long as there have been championships to be won. I don’t think there is anyone who deserves to kick back and puff a
stogie more than a baseball player who has just endured a grueling 162 game schedule on their way to being one of only 8 teams to reach the post-season. One of my favorite players due to his vital role in the Boston Red Sox 2004 championship, Orlando Cabrera, has reached the postseason again with his new club, the Cincinnati Reds. He and the Red’s owner (and cigar aficionado) Bob Castellini had enjoyed a Liga Privada cigar earlier in the year, and Castellini promised Cabrera a full box if the Reds could hold on to the division title. Hold on they did, and Tuesday night Cincinnati clinched the title with a thrilling walk-off win. Castellini was true to his word, and being a generous teammate Cabrera handed his smokes around to enhance the champagne-soaked celebration following the game. What could possibly be more innocent than a bunch of grown men jumping all over each other and spraying champagne in each other’s faces while smoking some cigars to celebrate winning at a kid’s game?
Well, apparently some busybodys took issue with this celebration. At least FIVE people with way too much time on their hands called the hotline the city of Cincinnati has set up to let citizens alert the authorities to violations to the city’s indoor smoking ban. Now, keep in mind these are not people who actually were breathing in second-hand smoke, just regular folks watching the postgame celebration on TV, completely unaffected by the Red’s actions. For a city as title-starved as Cincinnati, you’d think the pleasure police could take the night off and enjoy actually having a team succeed and just be happy for the guys, but that was not the case. People actually took an issue with the Red’s celebration, and under Ohio state law due to the complaints the health department is actually required to follow up in person.
Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending. There seems to be some sanity in the city’s department of health as all the comments coming from the office seem to indicate they think this complaint is ridiculous. They say that the video evidence is insufficient for the claim and that a violation must be witnessed in person by a certified inspector. As the law dictates, an inspection is required, but reading between the lines of the articles I’m not expecting them to be trying really hard to find a violation. Even if a violation is witnessed, a first offense fine is a measly $100; with subsequent offenses costing the team only $500. At those prices, I bet the Reds will be happy to pony up for the right to smoke in celebration again should they advance farther in the playoffs.
Regardless of the fact that all ended well, it is still unbelievable to me that people would actually complain about a baseball team smoking cigars in their own clubhouse celebrating the team’s first division title in 15 years. I hope all of those whistle-blowers have one of their life’s happiest moments complained about by people who have absolutely nothing to do with them. I also wish all the best to Orlando Cabrera and the Reds in the postseason, with my Red Sox officially eliminated I can’t think of a team I can get behind more than a bunch of cigar-lovers led by O-Cab!