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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.

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

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Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.