Major League Baseball: Rookie players banned from dressing up as women

Noah Syndergaard Twitter picture
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard posted this picture in October of rookies dressed up as characters from the Hollywood film "A League of Their Own"

New players are to be banned from dressing up as women, as part of Major League Baseball's anti-bullying policy.

Other prohibited costumes include those that are "offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identify or other characteristic".

Superhero costumes such as Batman and Spiderman are still allowed.

The annual dress up day is a tradition for rookies in an initiation practice called "hazing".

In September, the New York Mets posted photos and video of players wearing uniforms from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as portrayed in the 1992 Hollywood movie "A League of Their Own.''

The Washington Nationals dress as Olymic gymnastics team
In 2012 Washington Nationals rookies wore red leotards in the style of the US women's gymnastics team for a train ride to New York

The anti-hazing and anti-bullying policy, part of the MLB's new labour contract, was obtained by the Associated Press.

"Times have changed. There is certain conduct that we have to be conscious of,'' said Dave Prouty, from the players' union.

The league's vice president Paul Mifsud said the new rules were "in light of social media" which he felt "unfortunately publicised" the costumes, and "those kind of things which in our view were insensitive and potentially offensive to a number of groups".

Ross Stripling tweet
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, who dressed up as a cheerleader earlier this year, reacted to the news

He also said a number of players had complained about the tradition.

Other hazing acts that have been banned include making players consume alcohol, drugs or "undesirable unwanted substance (food, drink, concoction)".

"The purpose of this policy is not to prohibit all traditions regarding rookies or players," the new policy states, "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."