Gregg Zaun apologizes, but not really, for pro-hazing comments

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Former major league catcher Gregg Zaun made some unfortunate comments on Friday, coming out very much in favor of hazing young ballplayers. The comments were made in reference to former Blue Jay Brett Lawrie, a younger player Zaun believes didn’t respect his elders. As Zaun was hazed by his Orioles teammates as a young player, the now 43-year-old thinks players should go through the same treatment.

In the aftermath, Zaun took a lot of heat for his comments. What he came out in support of isn’t fun-and-games; it’s hazing, and in some cases, torture. In isolation, horseplay among 20- and 30-year-old adults isn’t that much of a big deal, but they’re in a position in which they influence millions of young wannabe baseball players across the continent. Bullying and hazing are serious issues which have led to physical and mental trauma as well as death in the most unfortunate of incidents.

Zaun apologized, sort of, on Twitter.

“Apparently there are some people upset”, as if it’s a surprise that physical and mental abuse are frowned upon. He then goes with the non-apology, “Sorry if you were offended,” before defending what he said.

Zaun cites the common hazing ritual among rookies in which they must adorn pink, often traditionally “girly” backpacks on their early-season treks to the bullpens, as well as dressing up in costumes after games, often feminine in nature. While they seem like harmless fun, as public figures who reach millions of young kids, they shouldn’t be engaging in and defending behavior which is often misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic. Lastly, note that Zaun never apologized for being involved with or supporting the behavior; he apologized merely for choosing the words “physical abuse” and “hazing”.

Zaun is likely headed to another round of public flogging.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.