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Sandy Alderson, Huston Street react to the new anti-hazing rule

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There isn’t a ton of news happening, so perhaps it’s inevitable that the anti-hazing rules announced this week have come to dominate the conversation in major league baseball. There was the announcement and then the backlash from former players. Today, on Day 3, we have, for the first time, reactions from a couple of figures currently in the game.

The first one comes from Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Alderson is happy to see the new rule in place because he thinks hazing is counterproductive. From Marc Carig’s report in Newsday:

“It’s something I’m very concerned about as a potential issue . . . I’ve seen it in the military. For all the camaraderie it’s supposed to promote, it’s divisive and I think undercuts morale. So you’ve got to be very careful about that . . . Is it constructive? Is it useful? Is it juvenile? It’s probably juvenile,” he said. “It’s probably not useful or constructive in too many ways.”

I dunno, man. I was told by many of you that only people in favor of the Wussification of America and people who have never been around a baseball team opposed these hazing rituals. That an ex-Marine who has worked in baseball for 35 years feels this way is . . . confusing!

On the other end of the spectrum is Angels reliever Huston Street. Street is the first current player to go on the record about all of this. He penned a long email to the Associated Press on the matter, stressing that he is against all forms of bullying and abusive behavior, but defending the act of dressing up rookies as women as a form of team building. He, rather hamfistedly, but at least earnestly, compares the hazing to comedians and the theater and stuff. I don’t know about that, but I think he is right when he says a new set of rituals will likely arise and that, unlike the stuff that was just banned, players will keep it out of the public eye.

But that’s the key part of it, right? The public eye? Major League Baseball did not ban this stuff because it’s progressive or because it listened to commies like Bill and me arguing for them to stop it. They banned it because each September the images of the hazing were all over social media thanks to players sharing it, leading to bad press (which, yes, included commies like Bill and me yelling about it). If it had always been kept private I’m sure MLB wouldn’t have said a thing about it.

Which makes some sense. These guys are adults and, amongst themselves, should be able to do whatever they want. But as we’re always told when they do things fans don’t like, they’re role models, whether they want to be or not. Maybe they should not be — I don’t think they should be — but they are seen as such by most. When they’re seen doing degrading things, it sends a message that the league doesn’t want out there and it is thus understandable that the league wants it gone.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.