SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — This is going to be a very hairy World Series.
Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is looking seriously scraggly. Same goes for teammate Sergio Romo, whose facial fuzz has its own Twitter account. Tigers slugger Prince Fielder goes for a double — dreadlocks and an overgrown beard.
And not to forget injured San Francisco closer Brian Wilson. His dyed, jet-black thicket inspired a “Fear the Beard” campaign in the Bay Area and beyond.
“They’re good beards this series — I think they’re all good,” Fielder said. “My wife won’t let me shave it off. She just likes the way it looks.”
There have been a bushel of beards, mustaches and flowing locks throughout the postseason, from the wild-haired Oakland Athletics to St. Louis closer Jason Motte to Washington outfielder Jayson Werth.
Superstition, busy schedules, hectic cross-country travel, there are all sorts of reasons for ditching the razor. Kind of like hockey, where playoff beards have long been tradition.
“Maybe people are just paying more attention,” Wilson said. “I think every postseason has beards, every sport they do the playoff beard. I remember watching as a kid all the playoffs, and guys would grow beards. It’s kind of like when you buy a new car and you realize everyone has it on the road.
“It’s facial hair. You either have it or you don’t. There’s only a 50 percent chance you’re going to have a beard,” he said.
So, who is sporting the best look this fall? That’s a tough one going into Wednesday night’s Game 1 at AT&T Park.
Romo’s hair has the Twitter account of (at)RomosBeard. Wilson’s growth has three different Twitter handles.
“We’re just a little weird. We’re a little wacky,” Romo said. “I just think we’ve got no shame. I wear mine confidently and I’m pretty sure he does as well.”
Wilson is still recovering from elbow surgery in April. Yet the quirky reliever continues to attract some of the loudest cheers from the home crowd.
Wilson can’t remember when he last trimmed the beard. He figures it’s been at least a year.
“He hasn’t cut it in three years,” fellow reliever Santiago Casilla offered.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean — he has a small beard, too — recently watched some old clips of Wilson from the team’s 2010 run to the World Series championship, the year the right-hander led the majors with 48 saves.
“He looked very groomed compared to (this) look,” Sabean said. “As he’ll tell you, the beard has its own checking account. Romo, Romo’s tightened himself up. Pence, not so good, bad look. It’s like ‘The Axeman’ or something.”
Any other grooming critiques?
“I’m not going to get into other people’s beards,” Sabean said.
If Wilson were healthy and available to pitch, Sabean kids that the beard might get in the way.
“It’s not as aerodynamic,” the GM said. “Maybe things would fly out of it and be a distraction to the hitter.”
All over baseball, facial hair has become a hot topic.
Last weekend, former Giants pitcher Brad Hennessey posted this as his status on Facebook: “Pence needs to shave that awful thing on his face! Are u saying that it grows in all white trashy like that all on its own?”
Former slugger Frank Thomas has his strong opinions, too.
“I don’t get it,” the meticulously shaven Big Hurt said on the field before Game 1. “It’s always been the pitchers. The pitchers have always wanted that edge, to look a little crazy on the mound. You never want to look clean cut on the mound. They want to look tough, that’s just what it is.”
Werth also had a good beard going, a fitting complement to that wild hair hanging from under his Nationals cap. His beard posts on Twitter, too: (at)JWerthsBeard.
The Athletics also made a good showing, with Brandon Moss, Jonny Gomes and fellow bearded teammate Josh Reddick pushing Detroit to a deciding fifth game in the division series.
Tigers reliever Jose Valverde has enjoyed checking out Wilson, Romo and the Giants from close range.
“Mine is clean, it’s not too much. Those two guys over there have crossed the line already,” Valverde said. “Romo’s is the one I like the most. I think Romo is perfect right now. Remember last year, it was longer. Romo is doing good. I don’t know what’s going on for Wilson this year.”
There are plenty of well-trimmed beards, too.
Angel Pagan’s is neatly manicured. NL championship series MVP Marco Scutaro keeps his short, while Ryan Vogelsong, Hector Sanchez and several other Giants go with a simple goatee.
The New York Yankees, swept in a four-game ALCS by the Tigers, were the only team that didn’t allow any hairy faces — in October, or any month for that matter.
Yet Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently had a fun way of describing the left-handed hitters in his lineup.
“They’re typically big, hairy monsters, as I describe them, that hit the ball over the fence, hit doubles, singles, can hit home runs,” he said.
Motte and the Cardinals got eliminated by the Giants in Game 7 of the NLCS. But during the series, he was confident that he could compete in a battle of the beards.
“Mine’s awesome,” Motte said. “I’ve pretty much had it since 2009. I got called up at the end of ’08 and I’ve pretty much had a beard ever since then. I just kind of let it grow.
“I hate shaving. I’m lazy. That’s pretty much what it boils down to. Come postseason, I don’t even try to trim it down,” he said. “At least during the season I trim it down a little bit and try to make it look somewhat presentable. In the postseason, I might as well let it all hang out.”
Some players wish they could join in.
“I have two terrible cowlicks on both sides of my cheeks, so I’ve got to keep this part clean, because it looks terrible,” Tigers reliever Phil Coke said. “I tried to grow a beard one time and that was the last time.”
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum says he’s whiskerly challenged. Now that the shaggy right-hander is working out of the bullpen in the World Series, some of the relievers would get a kick out of seeing The Freak with funky facial hair.
“Some of them can pull it off and some of them can’t. It would be really interesting to see Timmy with a beard,” Romo said. “I’d pay to see that. He’s quite the personality himself, so he fits already in there. He’s got the long wacky hair on the top of his head and not in his face.”
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
More Related Stories
- Cannes: Ryan Gosling's new movie draws the boo-birds
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- Juror responds to Joe Francis' insults with thoughtful email
- New track from the Lonely Island features Solange Knowles, semicolons
- Amazon introduces fan fiction publishing platform
- Naomi Watts, "Argo," "Wonderstone" among bizarre Teen Choice Awards nominees
- Imprisoned Pussy Riot member declares hunger strike
- The camp-free "Behind the Candelabra"
- Justin Bieber will destroy you if you live-tweet his parties
- Marc Maron on Twitter feud with Michael Ian Black: "We have an understanding"
- "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis to jury: "You should be euthanized"
- Ai Weiwei releases heavy metal music video
- Actually, Beyoncé is a feminist
- Marc Maron and Michael Ian Black's epic Twitter battle
- Cannes: Directing 101 with James Franco
- Welcome to the jungle: The definitive oral history of '80s metal
- Burt Bacharach opens up on daughter's suicide
- Steven Spielberg to produce "Halo" television series
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
- Brad Pitt keeps breaking his silence on how boring marriage to Jennifer Aniston was
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11