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MLB (finally) bans hazing that demeans women



By Marc Normandin

Tuesday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes an overdue change to the hazing rules, Kenley Jansen re-signing, and Jose Bautista’s chances of a Toronto reunion.

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.

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Hazing is a time-honored tradition for MLB rookies. It’s a good way to build some bonds with teammates, unify the rookies with the veterans, all that happy clubhouse stuff. There has been one real glaring issue with hazing over the years, though, and it’s the tendency of MLB veterans to make their rookies dress up like women because ha ha get it they’re not a man they’re a girl lol. It’s demeaning to women to treat them as if they’re lesser than the men who play the baseball, and it finally seems like MLB agrees, as they’ve banned “offensive” hazing, so no more dressing men up as women in order to point and laugh at them.

There is a difference between a man dressing up as a woman or woman character for Halloween and teammates forcing them to do it because it’s supposed to be humiliating. There are also other ways to employ hazing if it’s going to be something that keeps on happening in clubhouses across the game — look at what the Yankees’ rookies are doing in the photo accompanying this story. Or, if you’re reading the photo-less newsletter form of today’s Say Hey: they’re all in Yankees-branded onesies with some of them dressing in baby costume accessories on top of that. It pains me to compliment the man, but Joe Maddon gets his team to do weird dress-up all the time in order to build unity, and it seems to work pretty well. Take a cue from the Denver Broncos, baseball teams, and give your rookies terrible haircuts or something.

We can’t say that MLB’s hazing is in a perfect place, though, not while there is an ongoing investigation into sexual assault stemming from hazing that occurred at the Rangers’ Dominican baseball facility. That’s not exactly something allowed by MLB’s policies, though, so we don’t want to conflate these two events in any way. This is simply a reminder that the frat culture is (unfortunately) alive and well in baseball, even if there will be fewer dresses and wigs in it going forward, and that it has real consequences for its players.




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