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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.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.