“Hazing the rookie” has been a part of sports culture for a long time. Hazing, in general, has been around as early as 1495.
Check the 09:35 mark. Full transcript available here.
I’ll never forget it: I was out in the stretch circle, I played catch with Chris Hoiles every single day, and I lobbed the ball to him — and he was paying attention, but he pretended like he wasn’t. He head-butted the ball and all of a sudden I had what was called “the posse” all over me. Cal Ripken, Ben McDonald, Brady Anderson, Chris Hoiles, all of the above. They beat me on my ribcage, physically abused me on my way to the training table. They taped me spread-eagle to the training table, they wrote “rookie” on my forehead with pink methylate, and they shoved a bucket of ice down my shorts. I missed the entire batting practice, and you know what? Phil Regan, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, he did not care, because he knew that what those guys were doing was ‘educating me.’
That alone would be enough to scare me to scare me into submission. Zaun then went on to say that he deserved it because he was “mouthy” with the veterans. But it doesn’t end there, Zaun went on about a specific event with Cal Ripken Jr.
If I had a dollar for every time Cal worked me over, physically, I’d be a pretty wealthy guy. He still owes me a suit! He told me flat out, he said, ‘You are never to come past this point into the back of the plane, under no circumstances.’ So, I’m in my first suit that I paid for myself as a Major League player, feelin’ real frisky, and Cal says, ‘I need you to come here.’ And all of a sudden I crossed over that imaginary barrier line. He tackled me, wrestled me to the ground. They had just got done eating a bunch of blue crabs in the back of the plane, so there was nothing but mud and Old Bay seasoning everywhere. He throws me to the ground and he tears my suit off of me, and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ And he goes, ‘Remember when I said that under no circumstances do you come back here?’ I’m like, ‘Well you just told me to!’ ‘I said under no circumstances, and that includes when I ask you to come back here.’
While Cal Ripken Jr. wrestling someone on top of Old Bay sounds like the most Maryland thing ever, Zaun’s account puts Cal in a rather bad light. A lot has changed since then, and now many organizations won’t even allow it – especially since the Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin Incident.
These days, the Orioles stick to making their rookies dress up in goofy costumes. In 2012, Wei-Yin Chen was dressed up as an ‘Asian fan girl’ and Manny Machado got a white tutu. Then last season, Kevin Gausman got to be ‘Sperm Man’ .