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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.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.