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Don’t Do This, Don’t Do That: Restrictions of an MLB Offseason

With the last pitch of the 9th inning securing a World Series title for the Boston Red Sox, the Major League Baseball offseason is upon fans and players. It’s been a good year for baseball, even the bottom feeders, as Forbes reports that the last-place Houston Astros managed to clear not only a profit, but one of the largest profits in MLB history. Yet for all the multimillion dollar contracts and endorsements, MLB players have a strict list of forbidden activities in order to stay healthy and ready to show up for spring training.

Want To Play For New York? Start Shaving

The Yankees have been the centerpiece of Major League Baseball for decades, partly due to their overflowing wallets and partly due to the draconian policies of former owner George Steinbrenner. One of Steinbrenner’s signature policies for players involved their facial hair—or rather, lack thereof. Team policy forbids mustachios, beards, goatees, muttonchops and all other facial hair.

Even with the passing of Steinbrenner, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reported to the Wall Street Journal that he had no intention of letting the policy go, claiming the all-business look helps team discipline.

Ride Your Hog When Your Contract Is Up

Professional sports players have a love-hate relationship with motorcycles. High-profile athletes have had their health (and sometimes their life) jeopardized by a single motorcycle accident. In other cases, pro ball players used their ride to escape the law, such as the LA Dodgers’ Justin Seller’s high-speed chase with the law, which the Sporting News reported ended with arrest for reckless driving and evading the authorities.

Many of the risks of a motorcycle can be negated with motorcycle helmets, but this has not stopped MLB franchises from enforcing no-bike rules. Ironically, many of these same franchises sell team logos and decals you can put on your bike helmet.

Social Media: What They Can & Can’t Say

In an age where fans and players can easily communicate online about everything from their stat line to their hitting stance, the potential for embarrassment and even lawsuits has driven the social media stakes to a tipping point. MLB and the MLB Player’s Association recently signed a collective bargaining agreement that included rules of social media to be followed by each player under contract.

The MLB noted some of the specifics of this contract, such as the fact that players could not tweet or post statuses or make comments that resemble a team statement, that has sexual or illegal content or that involves any banned substances. Players also cannot criticize media members who are followers, friends or contacts, despite the fact that the media can regularly do just the opposite (and get paid for it).

While players have not been explicitly forbidden from any particular websites or social platforms, they represent just one new kind of employee who has had their social media use monitored and restricted by employers.

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