Getty Images

Orioles give Andrew Cashner beard exemption

32 Comments

Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun wrote a “getting to know Andrew Cashner” story over the weekend. It’s the usual sort of spring training story regarding a new signee: this is who he is, this is what motivates him, this is how he’s relating to his new teammates, etc. etc.

It contains one interesting little tidbit, though: Cashner would not have signed his two-year deal with the Orioles if they had not allowed him to keep his beard. From the story:

Cashner’s schedule, which has to this point occurred mostly outside the public view, has allowed for all of his personality to shine in the Orioles clubhouse. It’s about creating comfort on both sides, something he’s particularly invested in. That’s why he requested and received ownership’s assurance that his trademark beard can stay, provided it is trimmed, on a club where facial hair outside a well-manicured goatee is outlawed.

“I just think it’s a part of who I am, and it’s a part of my personality — it’s just me,” he said. “I think this length is kind of what it’s supposed to be, I guess.”

I have a few thoughts.

I am not a big fan of the several-years-old beards craze in Major League Baseball. It’s the most notorious part of Brian Wilson’s legacy, even worse than the “BECAUSE I’M BLACK OPS” Taco Bell commercial. That being said, team policies about facial hair are stupid. Every player should have the unalienable right to look as sloppy and scraggly as they want to. It’s one of the primary reasons why we fought the British and then stole one of their schoolgirl games and claimed it was our national pastime.

Even if you are going to have a facial hair policy, why have one against beards but allowing for goatees? Goatees are terrible. WAY worse than big gross Brian Wilson beards.

Given how tough this offseason’s free agent market was, I wonder what really would’ve happened if the Orioles said “nah, you gotta shave. Go find $16 million someplace else. Bet ya can’t.”

I’m sad this isn’t all taking place in Boston, because if it was, and if Cashner had a bad season, I’d bet $1,000 that, come September or October, the Globe or the Herald or WEEI.com or someone would run a followup story, citing anonymous front office sources, that the “special treatment” Cashner’s beard received was a source of divisiveness on the club.

Whatever the case, I can’t help but think today’s players are going to look back on the Beard Era of Major League Baseball with as much embarrassment as players of the 80s must feel when they look back at the Cop Mustache + Metal Glasses Era. I suppose every generation has to deal with such things, however.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go delete some pics of myself from the early 90s.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

Getty Images
7 Comments

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.