Huston Street says MLB should use 'logic' in regard to rookie dress-up

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Baseball is a sport steeped in tradition, and news that one of the sport's more interesting rites of passage, rookie dress-up, will now be policed by the league has rankled some players.

"I believe it's team building, and I believe that it can be done in a way that is sensitive but allows that team-building process to unfold," veteran Los Angeles Angels reliever Huston Street said in an opinion piece written for the Associated Press.

Part of Major League Baseball's new Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy prohibits teams from "requiring, coercing or encouraging" players to engage in activities that include "dressing up as women or wearing costumes that may be offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or other characteristic."

The league does, however, leave the door open for players to be dressed up in what it considers non-offensive ways, such as superheroes or cartoon characters.

While Street wrote in his piece for the AP that he is against any form of bullying, he argues that forcing rookies to dress up is neither a malicious endeavor nor is it aimed at denigrating others. And he asks that people use "a certain sense of logic, historical truth and tolerance" when it comes to the practice.

"Yes, I remember my dress-up day. I remember it fondly," Street wrote. "I was dressed as a female of some sort. We weren't making fun of people that actually dress that way; we were dressed up in uncomfortable clothes, as a contrast of macho dudes dressed in too tight fitting or too revealing clothes for our body type. Anyone looking at the exercise from a lens of humor would see the contrast for what it is and wouldn't be offended."

Street isn't the only big leaguer upset with the new rules, asLos Angeles Dodgerspitcher Ross Striplingtook to Twitter on Monday night.

Street, however, hopes that altering the rules on this form of hazing doesn't spark a new and potentially worse tradition.

"Rookie dress-up is like anything in this life: Done appropriately, it is a healthy ritual; taken too far and it becomes either offensive or dangerous," he wrote. "And now it's out of the players' hands. A part of the game that was openly and happily shared with fans in an effort to show our childlike spirit or humble ourselves in wearing something funny as a team-building moment is now gone but truthfully won't change much, and I don't really care that much.

"But rest assured, some other ritual will rise, will be kept far more secret, and hopefully it's as safe and harmless as uncomfortable clothes."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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