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.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.