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Former players express displeasure with MLB’s new anti-hazing rule

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Update (7:51 PM EST): The Associated Press has some more quotes, including from Mets GM Sandy Alderson and Rockies GM Jeff Bridich.

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On Monday, the Associated Press reported that, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball has banned “offensive” hazing, referring to the tradition in which veteran baseball players make their rookie teammates dress up like women as a method of — they claim — “team bonding.”

We’ve covered the topic here many times before. In short, the practice is misogynistic, transphobic, and homophobic. Breaking down the humor of the ritual illuminates this fact. The point of making a male teammate dress up like a woman and/or wearing a pink backpack is to make him feminine. Femininity, compared to masculinity, is worse in their eyes; weaker. A lot of defenders of the tradition counter with, “It’s just making them different.” But when shown the myriad other ways they can make their teammate “different,” such as dressing up like a superhero, they reveal how singularly focused they are on humiliating rookies in this very specific way.

Unsurprisingly, some retired players are expressing their displeasure over the new anti-hazing rule.

There were a couple players who were happy about the new rule. Nationals pitcher Shawn Kelley:

And former slugger Carlos Pena:

Last month, multiple prospects in the Rangers’ minor league system were accused of sexually assaulting a teammate in a hazing incident. That incident has ties to the dress-up style of hazing done in the majors. The point of assaulting their teammate in the way that they did was to emasculate him. Even if the dress-up shenanigans were as innocent as its supporters claim — and it isn’t — ending that will also help to stem more serious styles of hazing down the road by eroding the culture.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.