Today’s guest blog features Adam Maddox, a former collegiate baseball player at the University of Central Missouri. Adam knows what it takes to grow a playoff beard. While playing for the St. Joe Mustangs in 2011, Adam’s mustache played a critical role in his record setting no-hitter.
Although the list of baseball superstitions is a long one, at the top you can always find the glorious “playoff beard.” Facial hair goes with playoff baseball like Babe Ruth goes with the Hall of Fame. In honor of No-Shave November, I’m going to shed light on this postseason tradition.
These performance-enhancing beards (PEBs, if you will) allow teams and players to take a new identity into the playoffs. For example, let’s look at this year’s World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants.
Any non-baseball fan would have assumed that the Giants had picked up a homeless man from the streets of California to play right field for them this postseason. Baseball enthusiasts know that homeless man as Hunter Pence. His fiery leadership shown in the dugout helped spark an incredible postseason run for the G-Men. Without his beard, however, it would have just been leadership. The beard made it fiery.
Pence’s beard isn’t the most well known of the Giants’ PEBs, though. We are all well aware of Brian Wilson’s gorgeous piece of facial fur. His beard even has its own Facebook and Twitter accounts. With his beard, Brian Wilson looked like Gerard Butler’s stunt double in “300”. However, instead of chanting “This is Sparta”, Giants’ fans everywhere embraced the “Fear the Beard” battle cry on their way to the 2010 World Series crown. Sergio Romo hopped on the beard train as well, picking up right where the injured Wilson left off as Giants’ closer. End result: World Series Championship.
These beards give these players identities and confidence few clean-shaven men can rival. A solid playoff beard (i.e. Brian Wilson) sends a message to opponents, albeit sometimes a frightening one. A subpar PEB (i.e. Hunter Pence) also sends a message. The message is simple: I am homeless, crazy and will do anything to win.
So during this year’s No-Shave November, remember those who have not shaved before you. Remember Brian Wilson and Hunter Pence. Remember Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage. Remember Al Hrabosky and Dennis Eckersley. Heck, you can even remember Jim Joyce (just don’t remember the blown call). But more importantly, remember why they did it: to be remembered.
Adam Maddox graduated from the University of Central Missouri, majoring in public relations. Adam can be reached via Twitter @AdamMaddoxPR.