Here's the scoop: September 11, 2013
Something is sprouting
If you’re a baseball fan (and who isn’t), you no doubt have noticed a trend in the past few years — many players now have beards.
I’m not talking about “beards” either. I mean BEARDS — big and bushy — more like something you’d expect to find adorning someone who makes their living in the rugged outdoors — not in a multi-million-dollar baseball stadium. Face it, guys who make $10 million or so per year and have all the luxuries that money can afford are not generally associated with beards. Did I mention beards the players wear are often the seriously scruffy variety?
Probably the most famous beard in recent baseball history belongs to former Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson. His trademark beard was/is jet black and longer than a Congressional filibuster. I don’t think Brian would be offended if he read that the beard makes him look a bit scary. That’s a good trait for a relief pitcher and he was formerly one of the best in the business.
Everyone’s got them
But beards are not restricted to “closers” whose job it is to shut down opposing hitters in the ninth inning. Nope. Click on a game and players at every position have sprouted facial hair in abundance.
I know you Yankee fans out there won’t like this, but I think the team’s No Facial Hair policy is one of the dumbest things in sports. Sure, they have backed off on the rule a bit and allow some peach fuzz, but, you know…guys are raking in $20 million a year and they can’t be in charge of their personal grooming habits? Silly.
And please don’t tell me about all those championships. My guess is they’d have a lot more titles if players weren’t upset that they can’t have a beard (or even a wispy mustache, for that matter) as long as they’re donning the team’s pinstripes.
Honestly, I think it’s pretty cool that so many players now have beards. I must say that it’s easier to watch games at this time of year, because witnessing bearded ballplayers compete on a July night in Texas makes me sweat.
Hairs to new trends
Like every trend, the beard thing will eventually run its course. I think it’s been fun, though, since baseball players for a long time have been limited in their personal expression. As much as I like the beard takeover, I still can’t get used to players wearing their pants at shoe-level, rather than exposing stirrup socks. It’s somehow not right. The good news is, more players seem to be slowly switching back to the “old school” sock style. It’s a start.
After all, baseball is our national pastime — sorry, soccer fans, but baseball is still a hair more popular, in my book. And no one takes their shirt off on the field after they score a run. Let’s hope that trend never makes its way to the diamond!
— Brian Sweeney