During the Yankees’ spring training, a new memo from MLB officials was posted on their clubhouse bulletin board. Just below the pitchers’ throwing schedules and to the right of the Players Association memo on 30 new stimulants and 12 new substances added to the league’s list of banned substances was the Major League Baseball’s “Weapon-free Workplace” policy.
A close look at the “Weapon-free Workplace” policy
The policy states that players and employees of the Major League Baseball are not allowed to possess any deadly weapons while performing any service for the league. Those classified as deadly weapons include guns, explosives, metal knuckles, daggers, switchblade knives, and knives with blades exceeding five inches.
Actually, the policy was created last year and disseminated to the clubs last July but it was only posted in clubhouses now. The MLB had the signs prominently displayed at the clubs for the first time in light of other professional sports’ recent trouble with guns. The league sees this as a stance to make sure that no one in baseball will be involved in similar incidents.
CC Sabathia agrees with the league officials’ move after what happened in Washington. Sabathia was referring to the suspension of NBA’s Gilbert Arenas for the whole season following an incident with a teammate in the Washington Wizards’ locker room that involved guns.
However, what prompted baseball officials to do this move was not the NBA’s gun problem but that of the NFL’s, specifically the incident when former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress shot himself accidentally in November 2008. Shortly after, MLB executives met with the Players Association officials to hash out the policy, a baseball source said.
Reaction to the new policy
Aside from being posted on the bulletin board, the policy was also displayed on the chair in front of every player’s locker. This was how Andy Pettitte found out about the policy.
Like Sabathia, Pettitte agrees, saying that it’s just right to let people know. “If you have a license to carry a gun, people might think it’s OK to bring it in, so they’re telling guys not to bring it in,” he explains. Pettitte, who has been playing in the majors since 1995, adds that with the two major league teams he played for (Astros and Yankees), he’s never seen a weapon brought in the clubhouse.
Hall of Famer Goose Gossage who played from 1972 to 1994 and is now a spring instructor with the Yankees says that while he’s owned guns and was brought up around guns, he has never brought one to work. He says it’s about being respectful. Gossage adds, “You never thought about a weapon. You never felt threatened.”