Over at Yahoo’s Big League Stew, Dave Brown peppered Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista with questions from a wide avenue of subjects. One of those subjects pertained to beards — his, and those of his major league peers. Bautista, of course, has a magnificent beard and he explained how he keeps it maintained so consistently.
Brown then asked Bautista what he thinks of some of the scragglier beards around the league, such as those that belong to Derek Norris and Sean Doolittle of the Athletics. Bautista isn’t having it:
DB: Whose beard in this room impresses you? Should you say Derek Norris?
Jose: No! Or [Sean] Doolittle, either. It doesn’t impress me because they don’t do anything to it. They just let it go. No maintenance, there’s no effort into it.
DB: You don’t appreciate the joie de vivre, the free spirit, the letting go?
Jose: I do, but it doesn’t impress me enough to admire the beard.
Bautista really should give credit to both for having the willpower for letting the beard grow out the way they have, though. That type of beard is itchy — particularly in the in-between phase, when it’s not a well-manicured beard but it’s not a caveman beard yet — and it requires a lot of maintenance, lest one invite bugs and birds to build nests inside. It’s a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but to paraphrase the great Voltaire, “I may not like your beard, but I’ll defend to the death your right to grow it.”
It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.