The Hirsute of HappinessPosted: September 25, 2013
A year after losing 93 games, the Boston Red Sox are cruising into the playoffs and doing so with an army of unified beards, writes Steve Rushin in this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. “As the Red Sox ran away with the American League East title in September, their beards began to exert a great gravitational pull around Boston, powers that grew by the day,” writes Rushin. (PAGE 45)
It all started when outfielder Jonny Gomes arrived at spring training with a healthy beard, and since then, the Red Sox facial hair club includes, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli, Jared Saltalamacchia, David Ross and Mike Carp. Gomes says the beards helped the team, which has many new players, come together. “It’s been all hands on deck, keep your eyes on the prize all year,” Gomes says. “This thing got glued together really quick. People aren’t just jumping on now in mid-September.” (PAGE 48)
Fans have rallied behind the beards as well. On Sept. 18 the Sox hosted Dollar Beard Night, which provided fans with one-dollar admission if they had a real or fake beard.
Rushin notes that the beards are “just the most obvious manifestation of team unity. Players also have subtle lines shaved into the backs of their haircuts, wear Boston Strong T-shirts and rally around a cigar-store Indian purchased in San Francisco that now stands in the Fenway clubhouse in a Sox jersey.” (PAGE 48)
Not all the Sox are sporting beards. Shortstop Stephen Drew’s beard attempt came in patchy, and DH David Ortiz maintains tight control of his close-cropped beard. “As I told someone the other day, beards are like snowflakes,” Ross says. “Every one of them is unique, and beautiful in its own way.” (PAGE 48)