The baseball hazing ritual of dressing up rookies as Wonder Woman, Hooters Girls and
The policy, obtained by the Associated Press, prohibits "requiring, coercing or encouraging" 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 identify or other characteristic."
MLB vice president Paul Mifsud said Monday the new rules resulted partly "in light of social media, which in our view sort of unfortunately publicized a lot of the dressing-up of the players ... those kind of things which in our view were insensitive and potentially offensive to a number of groups."
"There's lots of pictures of baseball players dressed up as Disney princesses," he said.
Or even more outlandish, often for late-season plane trips.
That's all out starting next season.
"Although it hasn't happened, you could sort of see how like someone might even dress up in blackface and say, 'Oh, no, we were just dressing up,'" Mifsud said. "We've also understood that a number of players have complained about it."
Exactly when the annual dress-up day began around the majors isn't quite clear. Players often considered it a form of bonding, and it's become more of a production in recent years.
"Times have changed. There is certain conduct that we have to be conscious of," union general counsel Dave Prouty said.
"The important thing for us was to recognize there was a policy but to preserve the players' rights to challenge the level of discipline and the imposition of discipline," he said.
Not all outfits are banned — superheroes such as Batman and Spider-Man are OK.
Other past costumes that would be allowed include San Francisco ace
The issue of locker room bullying erupted a few years ago when an NFL investigation found that
MLB looked at several college anti-hazing policies while developing the new rules.
The new policy states that "a player's actual or perceived willingness to participate in prohibited conduct does not excuse the activity from being considered a violation of the policy."
Not everyone saw these things as fun.
After he was traded to the Mets in 1992, Jeff Kent threw his pimp's costume to the floor in the visitors' clubhouse in Montreal and demanded his regular clothes — which contained the ID he needed to go through customs — be returned.
"I paid my rookie dues in Toronto," he said then. "I feel I have endured my embarrassments, my punishment. I felt I was being taken advantage of. They wanted to go overboard. I stuck up for myself. I won't be pushed around."
Some common rookie rituals are permitted.
Last year, the
And rookie relievers still might find themselves lugging snacks across the diamond to the bullpen for the veterans.
But requiring players "to consume alcoholic beverages or any other kind of drug, or requiring the ingestion of an undesirable or unwanted substance (food, drink, concoction)" is banned under the new collective bargaining agreement.
The policy is in addition to the workplace code of conduct adopted by MLB and the union in 2013 after the office of New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman asked to meet with baseball officials and inquired what rules the sport had in place against bullying with respect to sexual orientation.