As a woman, it is probably expected of me to be offended by the idea that some MLB teams encouraged their players to dress like women as part of an annual rookie ritual.

But I’m not.

When I see those pictures of professional baseball players decked out in makeup, wigs, stockings, and dresses, I just see big, hairy athletic guys in feminine gear.

It’s pretty funny, actually.  As it was meant to be.

I don’t see it like Nancy Armour of USA Today Sports when she includes this act by MLB players dressed as women in her September 2014 article as “devaluing of women”.

To me, just the act of a person dressing in another gender’s clothes is not enough to think it perpetuates a stereotype.

Where it would cross the line is if those same players in women’s clothes stood up at home plate and swung the bat awkwardly on purpose or, threw a pitch from the rubber and intentionally miffed it.  At that point, they would be denigrating to women by making fun of them.

But, that is not what the rookie ritual in MLB has been about.

It was a rite of passage whereby after the September “call-ups” joined the team (rookies and/or sophomores), veteran players would remove their street clothes from their lockers and in their place, put a crazy costume which would be anything from a cheerleader outfit to Gumby, Popeye, Super Heroes, etc.  This usually happened on a day the team was to travel to another ballpark, meaning they had to wear these outfits to their next destination.  It was meant to be a light-hearted initiation process.

But, MLB now thinks this has the potential to be objectionable to others and has banned players from “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”, according to the AP.

This will be part of the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement that was ratified this week, which includes a new “Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy”.

MLB VP Paul Mifsud said earlier this week that the new rules have come about somewhat by “social media” which had “publicized” the rookie ritual.

Further, the new policy states: “The purpose… is not to prohibit all traditions regarding rookies or players… but rather to prohibit conduct that may cause players physical anguish or harm, may be offensive to some players, club staff or fans, or are distracting to the operation of the club or MLB.”

Now, I understand that MLB is worried about the possibility of being “insensitive” to others.

But, where’s everyone’s sense of humor?

Are we so serious now that we could be upset by players walking through an airport with miniskirts and heels on?

I, for one, would like to see that.

Darn, I’ll never have that opportunity again.



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