The Braves hazed their rookies after losing 4-0 to the Padres

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Padres starter Burch Smith proved to be too much for the Braves’ offense this afternoon as the right-hander shut them out over seven innings, logging ten strikeouts. Behind Chase Headley’s two-run home run in the sixth and Tommy Medica’s solo shot in the seventh, the Padres had more than enough offense to topple the NL East-leading Braves.

After the game, the Braves had their rookies dress up in a “tennis theme” as Kevin Faigle of WRDW Augusta described on Facebook.

Kevin McAlpin posted this photo:

I know the Braves were just doing this to innocently have fun, but these rookie hazing antics need to stop. They are often homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic in nature. In the photo above, the Braves are embarrassing their rookies by making them dress up in women’s clothing. Other forms of hazing involve rookies donning pink backpacks, ones that a six-year-old girl would wear to school.

There’s a way to have fun innocently, and then there’s having fun at the expense of an often-discriminated-against group of people, reinforcing to others that such behavior is acceptable. This looks even worse considering Major League Baseball has been a part of the “It Gets Better” campaign.

We’ve had plenty of incidents at colleges in recent years where students have been hazed, some even killed. Rookie hazing isn’t harmless when it’s seen by millions of people.

I forget who said it, and I’m just paraphrasing, but when it comes to humor, your jokes should always be aiming up at somebody — or at least moving laterally — rather than striking down at disadvantaged people from a position of power.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.