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Marlins infielder Wes Helms had to carry veterans’ luggage onto team flights and serve them on the plane when he was a rookie.

“There’s definitely less than when I came up,” Helms said. “Now, you don’t really have anything as far as making them do anything stupid throughout the year to embarrass themselves.

“It definitely has calmed down over the years. Rookies are a little different nowadays. When I came up, you didn’t say a word until you had two or three years in the big leagues. Now guys come up and it’s like they’re already comfortable.”

How rookies are treated depends upon the veterans in charge. Most teams force rookies to dress in embarrassing costumes for a road trip late in the season. They might be ordered to sing or dance at the front of the team bus.

“The closest thing we have is the guy with the least service time in the bullpen has to carry the backpack of candy or drinks and find out what the bullpen guys want,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We do some things at spring training just as bonding with guys, not really hazing. You give them projects or you ask them to do a report on something.”

Each clubhouse is different.

“I think it all comes down to the people that have the power,” Arroyo said. “If the older guys are reasonable and want the team to flourish, you’re only going to be able to push that so far without damaging (the chances) to be a winning team. So I think it depends on who’s king of the hill and whether those people are reasonable.”

Some if it depends upon how the rookies accept their special treatment.

“If you take it the right way, it doesn’t happen twice,” Helton said. “Usually when a guy fights back is when the problems arise. My rookie year, I was the only rookie. When they told me to, I’d make them ham sandwiches that year. I just kept my mouth shut and did what they said.”

Paul Konerko of the White Sox thinks rookie hazing shouldn’t make a newcomer feel uncomfortable.

“I remember when I was a rookie, people made me feel uncomfortable, maybe crossed the line,” said Konerko, who broke in with the Dodgers in 1997. “When that happens, when that player gets older, he says, ‘I’m not going to do that because I know how it felt.’ Or, ‘I can’t wait to do it to someone.’ It’s one of the two, and I think I’m the first one.”

A lot of players see baseball’s rookie treatment as something to be appreciated.

“There’s a deeper history in the game of baseball and things like that,” Twins reliever Matt Capps said. “You try to carry that history over.

“It’s a fine line. As long as you have fun and the guys that do get hazed know that it’s all in fun and in the right manner, I think it’s great.”

As soon as the rookies are done wearing those dresses, they think about sticking around long enough to see the next generation do the same.

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