The Los Angeles Dodgers picked a strange time to pick up the mantle of the tradition of rookie hazing. In sports at all levels there is a great deal of tradition, and a lot of it is good. It can be taken too seriously though, such as the Dodgers vs Giants rivalry, or Brian McCann and the Atlanta Braves being the arbiters of justice and protocol in Major League Baseball; but traditions like the handshake line at the end of a hockey series i can’t get enough of at any levels.
Traditions are effective at being inclusive, respectful, and are convenient means of maintaining community.
One of the traditions at virtually all levels of sport, and in most cases the very fabric of society is rookie hazing. The younger players and members of an instiution have to prove their worth. In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers the institution, proving your worth is doing embarrassing things, that the older players may or may not have done.
On Friday night, with just two regualr season games left, someone on the Dodgers decided it was a good idea to undergo this rookie hazing of Yasiel Puig, and Hyun Jin Ryu. I present exhibit A.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 27, 2013
Even though you can’t tell for sure, thanks to the caption and hints of his hulking frame we know that this smiling green Felt creature is Yasiel Puig. But why dress up Puig now? He’s a team guy who wants to contribute, but running the risk of alienating and upsetting their hotshot outfielder is a totally unnecessary risk. Besides being an exceptional baseball player, Yasiel Puig has proven to be unpredictable. Why risk it?
But Puig wasn’t the only Dodgers rookie to be allegedly roped into participating in this kind of hazing.
— Hyun-Jin Ryu (@HyunJinRyu99) September 27, 2013
I can’t help with the initial part of the message, but at least we see who it is in the suit this time. And Hyun Jin Ryu, the lovable and incredible effective Korean pitcher, is hilariously reminscent of Mr. Stay Puft.
Rookie hazing is great early in the season. Carrying equipment and practical jokes are all great. This hazing is not even close to inherently bad. It’s pretty harmless. But hazing is great until they’ve proven their worth–both Puig and Ryu have. They are 2 of the top 4 candidates for NL Rookie of the Year. So the timing is pretty suspect.
As for bringing the extremely good natured Vin Scully into the mix is a PR stunt that would be in poor taste if Scully wasn’t extremely good natured. This team when it is healthy is a pretty loose group, but rookie hazing seems like a move with little reward at this point.