As pitchers and catchers report for spring training, young baseball players are getting their first taste of baseball at the highest level.
With rookies entering the clubhouse, a little initiation usually takes place, with younger players occasionally required to carry the bags for veterans, sing in front of the team, or grab the coffee order for the entire roster.
But Mets manager Buck Showalter doesn’t appear to be a fan of any of it, telling reporters on Wednesday he’s always disliked hazing.
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“That’s so stupid. ‘Oh, it was done to me.’ Well, it was stupid when they did it to you,” Showalter said. “I never understood the rookie hazing bs. C’mon man. The guy’s got your uni [uniform] on, he’s trying to help you, why don’t you make his path a little easier?
“It’s like when people say, ‘They did it to me.’ Well it was stupid then, wasn’t it? I’ve never been a big hazing fan.”
While Showalter did not get into specifics, Major League Baseball created an Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy in 2016 that prohibits teams from “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 identity or other characteristic.”
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The policy came in response to the tradition of rookies dressing up in various outfits.
For Showalter and the Mets, the bigger picture goes far beyond rookie hazing rituals as New York enters the new year with the World Series on their minds.
Mets owner Steve Cohen guaranteed nearly $500 million to free agents this offseason and will have MLB’s largest-ever payroll in 2023.
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“I didn’t know I was going to have to spend like I did,” Cohen told ESPN last week. “I actually was a little naive in that regard. But once I got comfortable and realized, OK, what’s it going to take to put a great team on the field, I still had made a commitment to the fans, and to baseball, that I was going to come in and turn this thing around. I came in saying I’m all-in. And I keep my word.”
The Mets’ first spring training game is Feb. 25 against the Houston Astros.
The Associated Press contributed to this report