Players in all the other major North American pro team sports shake hands after games, at least some of the time. I don't watch soccer that much, so I'm not sure about that sport. But I know that basketball players and football players shake hands with opposing team members after every game, regular season and playoffs. I'm not that familiar with hockey either, but I've seen the post-game handshakes after the last game in a playoff series.
But baseball players never shake hands or greet members of the opposing team after games. Not in the regular season, not in the postseason, not after championship-clinching games. Never.
Some observers bring up Rule 4.06: "players of opposing teams shall not fraternize at any time while in uniform." Apparently this has been an MLB rule since at least 1950. Some claim that this rule prohibits post-game handshakes. But pro baseball players frequently chat during games. When a batter reaches 1B, we often see the runner chatting it up with the first baseman. That's definitely fraternizing. Players chat with each other in pre-game batting practice sessions.
Some players say that familiarity with opposing players is the issue. Unlike in the other major team sports, baseball teams play the same opposing team for two, three or four games in a row, on consecutive days/nights. Football players only play once a week (sometimes a short week because of Thursday or Monday games). Basketball and hockey teams don't play consecutive games against another team, except for the occasional home-and-home double, but those games are not always on consecutive days.
What about the Nationals and the Giants shaking hands after the infamous Hunter Strickland-Bryce Harper game? Well, there are fights in hockey and occasionally in football and basketball. There's definitely bad blood between some opponents in every team sport, but they still have post-game handshakes.
Youth baseball teams engage in post-game handshakes, but the practice goes away at the pro level.
I hadn't thought of this until I watched the final game of this year's World Series on TV. It's definitely odd that only baseball players avoid shaking hands with their opponents after the game.
Any thoughts? Alternative theories?