Fear the beard... or perhaps embrace it as I break down the starting line up of Beards in Baseball.
Pound for pound (or follicle for follicle), major leaguers are at the top wrung of the professional sports' ladder when it comes to donning facial hair. Admittedly, NHL'ers can give them a run for their money. This is especially evident while in pursuit of Lord Stanley's cup come playoff time. Look no further than the Ice Yeti himself; Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks. If you were to show his photo to random folks on the street, I'd wager that many would peg him for a riddle-slinging troll living by a swamp. You gotta love a Norris trophy candidate who embraces the gnar.
While it's always important to pay homage to the pioneers of the craft (Eckersley, Fingers, etc.), join me in recognizing the league's studs and duds of facial foliage.
C/DH - Evan Gattis (Astros) - What the ManBear lacks in batting gloves, he more than makes up for in bristles. His growth is full and pungent like a backed-up urinal.
1B - Mike Napoli (Indians) - Napster has one of those real thick, burly crumb catchers. It appears cozy and inviting. The type that makes you want to sit cross-legged in and play a board game…Balderdash anyone?
2B - Robinson Cano (Mariners) – You have to wonder if the overwhelming urge to grow a flavor saver played any part in Cano’s departure from the Evil Empire. His immaculately smooth look is a mere extension of his seamless play at the 2-bag.
SS - Danny Espinosa (Nationals) - Would you look at the arc on Danny's lip sweater...I mean...just look at it...it's glorious. Shear that sucker and knit me a cardigan.
3B - Kris Bryant (Cubs) - Much like his career, Bryant's moss is full of promise. One might error in underestimating a youngster with such a well groomed, 'prettyboy' appearance. Might I remind you of the 477 foot moonshot he drilled off the scoreboard filled with his giant mug during last year's playoffs…kid can flat out BALL.
LF - Jayson Werth (Nationals) - A good friend of mine once coined him the mechanic. Does he lather his nose neighbor with 10W-30?...I couldn't tell you. Partnered up with his sick flow, Jayson's look is definitely Werthy of note.
CF - Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) - Very few have cheek mulch as clutch as Cutch (say that 10X fast). Full facial coverage for the man who covers so much ground in the outfield...makes sense, right?
RF - Bryce Harper (Nationals) - The young phenom is blessed with raw power and an intimidating jaw lawn. The quaffed hair pairs well with his demeanor. Harper is a force of nature that can’t be stopped.
SP - Dallas Keuchel // Jake Arrieta (Astros // Cubs). Last year's Cy Young recipients are both equally deserving of a roster spot. Arrieta kills it with the lumberjack tuft. He reminds me of a jet black version of Yukon Cornelius from the claymation Rudolf: “there’s gold in them hills!” Did I mention he threw a no hitter this past Thursday? Keuchel is also quite intimidating on the mound. He's sporting more of the bass player in Pantera type look.
There you have it folks: the fanny duster all-stars. Any oversights or omissions? Anyone not worthy of a roster spot?...FIRE AWAY.
Finally, the duds... Actually, my hope is that as a species, we humans are becoming more accepting in nature. So, with that in mind, let's leave it positive and embrace everyone's uniqueness. Hold up, scratch that...Colby Rasmus....that s#!+ has got to go! To steal a phrase from Weird Al, “we sell quilts at a discount price, living in an Amish paradise.”
Get fresh or die trying,