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Cubs don’t like MLB’s new anti-hazing rule

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In December, Major League Baseball announced a new anti-hazing rule. Veterans commonly initiated rookies by forcing them to dress up like women. We’ve criticized the practice quite a bit here, as it’s often misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic.

Unsurprisingly, lots of former players expressed their displeasure with the new rule, as did Angels reliever Huston Street.

You can add the Cubs to the list of people not happy with the rule, as ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports. Catcher Miguel Montero said, “I think it’s B.S. It’s about making guys uncomfortable. I always say: Get uncomfortable to get comfortable. That’s what we try to do.”

If it were truly only about making someone uncomfortable, then the new rule shouldn’t be an impediment. There are many ways to make a teammate feel uncomfortable without demonizing women, feminine men, and transgender people, just to name a few. Montero suggested off of the top of his head that their dress-up shenanigans could include wearing wrestling tights through the airport on a road trip. Jake Arrieta and Justin Grimm suggested making the rookies wear Speedos. And those are fine ideas. They don’t punch down at oppressed groups to get laughs.

Arrieta said, “Maybe it needs to remain out of the public eye, but we aren’t trying to offend anyone. I know how serious it can be with people dealing with an uncomfortable time with the way they identify themselves individually. It’s a serious situation. Kids hide who they are because they feel like they will be ridiculed, and that’s wrong.”

Perhaps manager Joe Maddon should take his players on a field trip to the Halloween store. There are plenty of ways to dress players up in something embarrassing or uncomfortable that doesn’t make femininity the butt of the joke.

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.