How Gum Time Started


Let’s start it off where this thing began. We were in the Yankees series a few weeks ago, and it was the day before I started. I had been miked up for the telecast. We were down 5-0, and I was doing the pitching chart that night, so I was only actually in the dugout every half-inning. And I told the guys on the mic, I said, ‘All right, I’ll give you something here, down 5-0 (in the third inning), nothing’s going on. I’ll throw you a bone. I’m going to throw in a rally chew and see what happens.’ And I stepped back there, opened a pouch. I threw a good portion of it in, and right as I was doing it, Pudge hit the ball up in the air. And as the ball was in flight, I started putting more in, and it gets over the fence. And then we begin with this whole fad.

Tigercelebration_1I did it three more times that game, which resulted in a triple, a double and a walk. We ended up tying it up and losing the game. But the next day was when I really realized it made an impression on the fans. After the thing was over with, some of the guys on the TV crew came up and said it was some of the best television, if not the best television, they ever had. They were blown away by it. Because you know, in their side of things, they have to produce the visual aspect of the media as well.

So the next day I’m walking out there to warm up before the game, there’s a sign, and it has a huge picture drawn of me with a big wad drawn in my cheek. This kid’s holding it up, and it said, ‘Big Nate Chew" on it. The Gum Time phrase apprently came from Mario Impemba. I was kind of amazed. I’m sitting out there and it’s right before my start and people are saying, ‘Where’s your gum at, man? Where’s your gum at?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Dude, I’ve got to pitch tonight. I ain’t going to throw a bunch of gum out there on the mound.’ I was kind of brushing it off and it just didn’t go away.

Mepitching_1So the next night, we were sitting around. We’re down by one, Kyle Farnsworth is in. The only time that night we throw it in, and we win the ballgame. And of course, the cameras are just scanning for us. At the time, it was just me. But as time has gone along and this thing has morphed, the guys are getting involved and having fun with it.

And that’s the biggest thing, keeping this game as a game, as an innocent game. We used to do this in Little League and have fun. We’d throw in a bunch of gum or some seeds and call it a rally chew. It was just a game, and that’s what we’re doing here. We’re kind of keeping the kid part of it. I think it’s good to humanize the game a little bit, especially for the younger fans. It’s been fun. But the Bubblegumfunny thing is, it’s the older ones that are acting more like kids with this whole deal. The adults are the
ones that are acting like kids, which is even better. When Jordan Field, the Detroit Tigers Foundation Manager, came up to me and told me a signed pack of gum was the most popular item on their auction, I thought, ‘Dude, call the fans what you will, but they are dedicated.’ A pack of gum goes for $90. It’s taken on a life of its own.

Blog along with me >



    I’ve been a Tiger fan my entire life and although it hasn’t been pretty the past few years, I’m loving watching you guys now and how much fun you’re having right now. The gum is hilarious and it always puts a smile on my face when I see you guys trying to chew those huge wads.


    I have been a Tigers fan since I was born in ’79 and haven’t really been able to “remember” watching you until about ’90. Great story on the gum, and keep chewing. Really glad you made a blog and look forward to hearing more from you! Go Tigers!


    My softball team has adopted “Gum Time”. The only difference is that it never works for us. Oh well. Keep up the good work!


    Nate, this is funny and it works i like to see you guys have fun and win! Nice job tonight Nate!


    Great blog! I enjoy seeing you do your Gum Time on TV. I got to meet you at TigerFest back in January. I was the one that said that whenever I saw you on the mound, I said “Nate! Nate the Great!” and sung “Nathan Jones” by the Supremes. Keep doing your thing. Go Tigers!!


    Nate, great game tonight.It is great to see Detroit relaxed and playing well. Good luck and dont forget the gum!!!!



    Awesome game Nate. I saw you chewing away when walking off the mound after the 7th. Believe in the gum.


    Classic! The Rally Chew! I moved to Chicago six years ago, and have never skipped a beat in my Tiger Loyalty!

    It’s great being on the Chicago end listening to WSCR 670 in Chicago and hear them sweatin’ the Tiger’s!

    Every game I go to whether in Detroit or when the Team comes to Chicago, I bring “The Pope” with me. It’s a banner with the ’84 “Bless You Boy’s” slogan with Pope John Paul II wearing a Detroit Cap! Like the gum, it’s my rally “cap”!

    Shoot the knees!


    Nate, helluva game tonight. 0-0 game, man on third with no one down and you march right through the next three. My favorite moment of the season so far.

    Chew on buddy, chew on…


    Nate, Congrats on a great start to what hopefully will be a special season. From one Shocker to another best wished for continued successes.


    I’m not a guy thats jumped in on the fad, but I will say I ended up with a side splitter from laughing so hard the night you invented “Gum Time”.

    Classic stuff.


    I think the gum thing you started is cool. My team strted it and in late by a few runs, we start scoring-it is amazing. We not only win because of your amazing pitching, but because of all that work your jaw has to do! Great job today Nate! You Won the game! P.S. I am number twenty-nine on my softball team. I am pitcher too. Everytime I do good, it seems you do to. Love Ya Nate,
    Your #1 fan



    Nate-dog. Great game against Houston. You showed Clemens who was boss. You’re sweet pitcher and it seems like you always have a solid outing. I feel confident when you go to the mound. Keep up the great pitching.


    good job tonight sir… i enjoyed listening to the game.. i dont know if you will be pitching on the saturday pittsburgh game this coming weekend.. but i will be there to cheer you guys on.


    Hey hey big Nate
    I think you’re great

    I am a fan it’s true.

    “Gum Time” is boss

    saves Tigers from loss

    Long live the great big pink chew!


    Apparently the Rocket’s thrusters got all gummed up last night. Has Big League Chew contacted Oakley for your shipping address yet? Keep up the good work and you’ve been our fav since seeing you in Cooperstown last May.


    You got the fans involved in the game, Nate. That’s what makes it cool. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one gumming along with you for the late-inning rally!

    It’s all about keeping baseball fun, and you and the Tigers are certainly doing that for all of us.



    Nate, I think the funniest thing I’ve ever seen was when Alexis Gomez started rally chewing and ran up and down the dugout after you guys came back and took the lead. The time when Vance had so much gum in his mouth that he could only chew about 1/4 of it at once wasn’t bad either. Keep the wins coming, Go Tigers!


    Nate, I love how you guys play with such heart and are having a good time. You’re an example of what the game is all about. I’ve been a Tigers fan all 21 years of my life, and I’ve stuck with ya for all this time. It’s amazing fun to see you all working together to achieve something great. Your love for the game, relaxed demeanor, committment to winning, and unselfish team play is exactly what the ballclub needed all along. Keep up the good work, and GO TIGERS!!!

    -Nate (a fellow namesake…)


    Hey Nate, your buddy Ron Newsome here, lovin the gum time stuff, it is awesome man. Deb, Kevin and I were at the game last night and also on Monday night as well. Keep up the great work man, we are proud of you and proud to call you our friend. God bless ya pal. Ron


    NATE ROBERTSON… U ARE A GOOD MAN… wich brings me 2 my next point… i was looking for some freaking big leag- i mean magic gum at a bunch of freaking gas stations rite aids and grocery stores and they didnt have any. not one freaking pack… ware do u guys get so much?


    i’m in milwaukee and watch on mlb extra innings. every rally, i’m stuffing my face. i was at the 1st game in milwaukee behind the home dugout, stuffing a wad into my mouth and passing chew to everyone in tiger gear. my jaws were so sore, my girlfriend asked me what was wrong… she just doesn’t understand baseball


    Nate – You and the rest of the boys represent what the true meaning of baseball really is; the chance for adults to escape and be kids again. Seeing you dipping the Big League took me back to highschool baseball. The porta-john tipping, hot-foots, sunflower flicking and the most fun “Road Trip!”. Keep it up!!


    Thundersticks? Rally Monkeys? Stupid White towels??

    Heck no!!!! We have:

    Gum Time!!!!!

    Gum Time Rocks. We all love it. Go Tigers!!


    i am so glad to see you guys having fun especially after so many years of losing. even during the losses it is sweet. me and my mom were watching and right before marcus thames hit the homer to tie it at 6 on saturday night we put the big league chew in and boom there goes the rally and the comeback win. GO TIGERS and good luck

  26. jmknight_88@yahoo.ocm

    I live all the way in el paso texas. and i cant tell you how much i love the tigers. the last few years i have been getting a lot of stuff for sticking with my team, but its all paid off now cuz i love watching the tigers on extra innings. The big nate chew is just another exciting part of watching the best and most exciting team in baseball.


    Ellie, Kady and Cooper Love Uncle Nate!!
    Nate we’re so proud of you… Not only are you throwing awesome… You’re a true representative of what baseball is and should be. Forget the Royals … GO TIGERS!!!


    I wrote somewhere on here eairler, but I want to write again. I respect you and look up to you. One day I want to be a pitcher as good as you are.- Katie #1 Fan


    I was 9 in 84 and watching you guys play right now I feel like I’m 9 again. I grew up in Detroit but now live in Seattle, unfortunatley I will be visiting Detroit while you guys are out here but I know the ROAR will be in full affect. “LET’S GO TIGERS”


    We love you Nate! We’re coming to Detroit from up North in August so hopefully we’ll see you then. Go get ’em Tigers!!



    What a dream season so far.. i’m confident that you guys will go deep into the playoffs. You have the pitching, the hitting, the defense to do it.. and a top notch skipper. I’ve enjoyed watching every game this year, a few in person that were incredible games! This gum time thing is another solidarity type thing that locks you and your teammates in for combat on the field.. keep up the great pitching!!

    GO TIGERS!!!


    Man, you have been fantasy gold this season. I’m sure you’re happy to be part of my team, right?


    nate enjoyed th big league rally chew. watched you pitch a great game ontues night against the astros. talked to your dad later that night and he was a proud dad when we were talking about the game. wish you guys the best of luck for the rest of the year. my son ethan says hello. take care and god bless. gary davis and family


    Hope to see you guys in KC in the fall. Maybe it will be wrapped up by then!

    Saw the Bird pitch back in Mo-Town many years ago…this reminds me of that (his whole approach to having fun and keeping it a game).

    Hope your TV is working well….

    Dan in Wichita


    Yo Nate, when are the Tigers going to strike a deal with Big League Chew and start selling this stuff at the stadium?


    Holy cow, this is the best thing I have seen all day!!

    I’m not sure if you would ever remember this Nate, but I was one of the girls with the “119 Reasons to be a Tigers Fan” at the last game of the 2003 season.

    Anyway, I never missed a single game until I actually grew up and got a job and had to move away from home — but I caught a game in Milwaukee last week where you guys played amazing again!

    It is AMAZING as a life long tigers fan to see what you guys are doing and Gum Time makes it even more entertaining! Keep it up!


    Nate, me and my bro sit and watch the game just to see you chew that gum . I went out and bought that gum you chew its awesome and you are awesome keep it up. Please give us something to cheer about in October. We have got to beat those WhiteSox!!!!


    I have been a Tiger fan all my life. I rember standing on Ann Arbor Trail in 68 and watching the lne of cars driving by beeping their horns. Then in 84 with Gibby and the rest, I was at the game sitting in the bleachers when he knocked one out through the lights in right. I now live in Atlanta and have watched the local fair weather fans bash their boys.

    I am proud to call myself a Tiger fan and always will. Thanks to you and the rest of the boys for bringing back the swagger. Let’s make it happen this fall. Kick some bu te.

    Brian From Dearborn Hts now in Atlanta.


    Im a big time tiger fan since a little boy,my dad use to take us
    to yankkee stadium,my hero was AL Kaline he hit a home run to

    win the game.Back then lived in NJ,I was a crazy tiger fan,had a short wave radio listen to wjr late at night .It was tuff to listen to weak signals but tried to listen.Know I live in Boston

    my biggest thrill was when I picked up Al Kaline,ane george Kell,Ill never forget that day.Im a cab driver in Bean town.


    Nate it’s great to watch all you guys in the dugout with huge wads of gum it really brings a smile to a lot of peoples faces especially mine it is nice to see the team clicking so well and having fun winning but i think what you guys need is to get Leyland and big ol’ pack of Big Nate Chew that would be hilarious!
    love you guys and good luck

    Go Tigers!



    nate nice season for you,got ya on both my fantasy teams,i got zoom on both too and justin was waived by a twins fan in my league and i snagged him.been a tiger fan since 71,i met bill lajoie at my jr hs game in garden city with hoot evers.met norm cash in little ceasars back when mr ilitch was still passing coupons thru my neighborhood by hand.i thank the team for making summer great again.i love grandy,shelton,guillen,maggs.i was apprehensive about rogers but he has been great too.hope the magic leads to october.keep racking wins for me.btw saw a nice piece on fsn a few yrs ago with you and your wife,both sound like good ppl.hope all is great for the family


    There’s an army of Nate loyalists out in RF (Section 104, L) who will pack the chew with the best of them. Feel free to send some of the clubhouse rations up on any Friday night.



    It’s been fun following you these last few years. It brings out a little Maize pride. Andrea’s made it to a few games in Minnesota, her husband is a big fan. Tell Josh I said hello and I’m looking foward to watching you in the post season.

    Brian Wood


    We love it, gum man! We’ll see you Sunday in the ‘Burgh, and we’ll be hollering for the gum man! FEAR THE GUM!!!
    The glasses are cool too. Maybe we all should wear safety glasses like in Slap Shot when the fans started wearing Hansen Bros. glasses. Thanks to all of the Tigers for making Baseball fun again in Detroit! Leyland is the best, too. When I lived in the Burgh, I really liked what he did with the team, and hearing his tirade on 4/17 brought back a lot of memories. I’m happy the Tigers are doing so well. Keep up the good work, the fans certainly love you for it!!


    GO TIGERS! The gum is great but most of all I think we are enjoying you guys enjoying yourselves. I always have called the Tigers the boys since the 84 team and now I sing The Boys Are Back! KEEP HAVING FUN AND WINNING


    I think it is totally awesome that you guys have fun out there. I love Detroit sports teams, and it was hard to see the Pistons and Wings fall. The Tigers have made it ok though. Im so glad to see the Tigers do well. Gum time is just the cherry on top. Go Tigers.


    I was at the game at your last start. Our whole section put some Big League Chew in our mouths in the 7th inning & the you guys finally scored some runs. It was pretty amazing


    As a fellow Cantonite with an 84 year-old mother who also lives in Canton, We couldn’t be prouder of you! Not only am I hooked on the BLC, I think I may buy stock in it! 🙂 Could you get us a couple of playoff tickets? lol


    Hey Nate,
    It’s great to see you with this blog and sharing your thoughts with us Tiger fans. I’m a follower of all Detroit sports teams but the Tigers hold a special place in my heart. Baseball is unique with its charm and mystique, and has the ability to turn grown folks into young’ns once again.

    The big leage chew is a real hit. lol. I love to see you stuffing that gum into your mouth. Maybe, without realizing it, you are making lifetime memories for a whole new generation of Tiger fans.

    I wish you continued success. You guys are WINNERS.

    once again. thank you for sharing


    You crack me up. I’ve been going to about 70 Tigers game a season from ’01- ’04. While I still go down pretty often, now that I’m in college a bit more of my time is taken up. It’s so great to see you guys winning (not to mention my friends don’t make fun of me anymore because I like the Tigers!) and the whole gum time thing just makes me smile! Keep up the great work and I’ll see you down at Comerica!


    Here is my take on the whole gum thing:

    Nate Robertson has been my favorite Tiger long before the Big League Chew thing. One of the reasons is he always makes himself available to sign autographs before home games and the other reason is I think he is a down to earth person. His numbers last year didn’t really reflect his performance due to the lack of the Tigers offense so I am happy to finally see him getting the recognition he deserves. Go Nate!!

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me~Philippians 4:13


    Here is my take on the whole gum thing:

    Nate Robertson has been my favorite Tiger long before the Big League Chew thing. One of the reasons is he always makes himself available to sign autographs before home games and the other reason is I think he is a down to earth person. His numbers last year didn’t really reflect his performance due to the lack of the Tigers offense so I am happy to finally see him getting the recognition he deserves. Go Nate!!

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me~Philippians 4:13


    Awright!!! On top of some awesome pitching you’ve started a cool trend… Much better than what some other MLB players chew; they haven’t found any health problems with bubble gum. As a role model you’re setting a great example!

    Keep up the great pitching, and I’m looking forward to watching you and the Tigers kick some backside the rest of the season! Especially with big wads of gum. =)

    Farmer Dave- just west of Canton in Superior.


    Dear Nate,

    Thanks for Gum Time, it’s fun. I feel like that little girl in the stands with her fingers crossed looking up to heaven before Grandy hit that home run in the 9th against the Reds but I’m not a little girl any more. Thanks for giving us Tiger fans great memories this year.


    Tough outing in Oakland last night. But, you still had the ball club in the game when it counted. I don’t remember ever being so excited about going down to the ball park to take in games. The crowds are outstanding and the team is fun to watch.
    About the gum! Has anyone ever mentioned the movie “Rookie of the Year” to you. There is a part played by Daniel Stern, he’s a bench coach, that throws a wad of gum in his mouth and is jumping up on the dugout bench. He also has the facial hair groomed the same way you do. I have been searching for a picture of him to do a side by side of the two of you. I thought of it the first night you did gum time and were standing on the bench!


    Hey Nate, I just want to let you know that “gum time” is great. I love the fundamentals and fun in baseball… without talk of steroids and money, and I think that the Tigers are a great role model for what young baseball players should want to be like. It’s good to see you guys (the pitching staff) so close even though you’re not all close in age and experience. The gum thing is great because its just another way for us as fans to relate and “be like” you. My only worry is how the rest of the team feels about the obstacle course that must be your dugout in the late stages of any given game. 🙂 Keep it up!! 🙂 ps… the sour apple kind is AMAZING!!!


    What’s up Nathan?

    I had lunch with Josh today and he told me this crazy story about some gum. I had a hard time believing it, but here it is: an internet blog about how much gum Nate Robertson can shove in his mouth. The people who are amazed at this feat are obviously not familiar with the Robertson family. Not only is it great to see one of the most storied franchises in baseball having a great year, it is great to see one of my boys as a big part of it. It is hard for me to believe sometimes, but my sons play ‘Nate Robertson’ in the basement every day. They take turns: one gets to be Nate and pitch while the other one hits. It makes me feel good to see you have so much success because i know first hand how much you deserve it. Your love of the game really shows, and sets an awesome example for the kids out there who can now share a piece of the pros by throwing in a rally chew. I never even thought of becoming a Tiger fan until you put on the uniform, but you have to get your homie’s back, and it has been great to watch as this magical season has unfolded. GO TIGERS!!!



    When is the Tiger’s Marketing team going to come out with the shirt? You know:

    Got Gum?


    Hey Nate. Great to see that you and the Tigers are both having great seasons. Here’s to a strong 2nd half and a nice post-season run.

    Have to throw out a “Go Shox” for you too! We’re all pulling for you!!



    Nate – I was enormously pleased to discover you were playing for the Tigers (yes, I admit I’m behind the times, but I haven’t always been a big follower of MLB). You may not remember me, but I student-taught with Lee Barcomb at Maize HS when you were in one of his social studies classes. I knew then that you would go far in baseball, and I’m glad to see I was right. Now I can really say about a former pupil, “I knew him when….” I live in DC now and cheer for the Nats, but now I’ll follow the Tigers, too. Best of luck! Brian


    I watch the tigers every night on my sattellite and have even made a few road trips. Visiting Wrigley was awesome, and I could tell the team liked it too.

    I love watching Nate pitch with such intensity and the gum time is funny.

    I live in Tampa Florida and was wondering if anyone knows where I can purchase some gumtime tshirts online.


    Andy in Tampa


    Nate…been a huge detroit tigers fan since birth. I’ve watched you throw a lot this year and wanted to tell you that I think youve finally become that pitcher that we needed. I’ve been utterly impressed with your work this year. NOw only if we could get you some dang run support. There are about 6 of your losses that I can remember that you should have won because you threw so well, just no support. No worries, if you keep throwing great, the runs will pour in for you. It;s great to see a player like you that cares so much about the team and really wants to win. Keep it up!!


    God Has blessed you my brother! I am so proud of you! I watched the clinching game today and the CELEBRATION after! That was a very proud moment! Thanks for a great year! I went to Minneapolis for my 41st birthday and 1st anniversary with my wife Kristin and we watched the losses on friday and your 2-1 defeat on Saturday (my birthday) I had a good time even though some of the twin’s fans got out of hand! I was watching you warm up that night and I got to listen to what their fans were saying to you and it was making me quite angry but you were awesome and blocked it all out! Your quite the professional I saw that agian tonight during your celebration interview in the KC locker room. Keep it up and bring Detroit home a Series Pennant!

    Your Fan & Brother in Christ,

    Steve in Warren


    I must admit I jumped on the Tigers bandwagon last year…and agree you pull off the glasses as well as any pro ever has, aside from Ed Brinkman maybe. In all seriousness, what brand are your glasses? I pitch in a 40 and over baseball league and just can’t wear contacts…and the Chris Sabo rec specs just don’t cut it. Thanks and good luck this year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s