Angels pitcher Huston Street defends rookie dress-up as 'team building'
Los Angeles Angels reliever Huston Street believes that making rookies dress up in costumes as part of hazing can be done in a way that is sensitive, and that the practice allows for better team building.
Street was asked by the Associated Press for his thoughts on Major League Baseball's new Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy, which prohibits teams from making players dress up like women or participating in other activities that can be deemed offensive.
Street reiterated he is against any kind of bullying.
"I'm not arguing for purposely offensive behavior because that's not even close to what this is. I am arguing for a certain sense of logic, historical truth and tolerance," Huston wrote in an email to the AP. "Should we ban all comedians? There is an entire profession built around the notion of being offensive. Some of our favorite and most famous figures are comedians, and we are all delighted for a five-minute skit."
As part of the newly agreed upon Collective Bargaining Agreement, MLB passed the Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy, which 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."
Some players said they are sad to see the tradition go.
"I'm glad that I got to partake in it last year. Wouldn't trade that," New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo told the AP. "I felt like it just kind of brought the team closer together, let's have a little fun together."
Nimmo had to wear a wig and dress from the movie "A League of Their Own" and was told to get coffee and doughnuts for the veterans while the team was on a road trip to Philadelphia.
"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," Street 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."
- Scooby Axson