It’s $1 beard night at Fenway — feel the magic

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Usually cutesy little things don’t get played out until the playoffs actually start. The Red Sox are trying to get the jump on all of that, though:  It’s $1 beard night at Fenway.

Seriously: wear a beard to Fenway park tonight — real or fake — and you could get to see the Red Sox game for just a dollar. It’s a “while supplies last” thing, so I imagine it’s only for the handful of walkup tickets available.

Of course, given that beards are magic and make teams win you’d think the Sox would evict all of the clean-shaven season ticket holders and let Jonny Gomes’ spiritual relatives all come into the park. But hey, maybe they just aren’t as hip to this strategy as Boston radio hosts are.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.