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.
Yesterday’s news about the arrest of Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez was pretty disturbing. Today’s update from Jeff Passan of ESPN is even worse.
Vázquez has been charged with solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to minors, and yesterday’s report said that he texted a 15-year-old girl that he would meet up with her after the season for sex. According to police, however, Vázquez had already met with a minor in an attempt to have sex. When she was 13:
Yesterday Vázquez’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, issued a statement saying “We are in the process of reviewing both the Pennsylvania and Florida charging documents, as well as the underlying facts of the matter. At this time, any comment would be premature.”
The Pennsylvania charges referenced involve an alleged statutory sexual assault of a victim who is at least 16 years old by a person who is at least 11 years older than the victim; unlawful contact with a minor; corruption of a minor by a defendant who is 18 years old or older; and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last night that the offenses allegedly occurred on Aug. 1, 2018.
Vázquez is still in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested, and is awaiting extradition to Florida. He was denied bail and was characterized by the arraigning judge as a flight risk. Likely because he is a native and citizen of a foreign country with substantial financial resources.
UPDATE: I had missed this previously, but the Pirates issued a statement about all of this yesterday afternoon: