Don Mattingly, the new manager of the Miami Marlins, decided that his team needs to be facial-hair-free. What would happen if Brad Ausmus decided to follow suit and ban facial hair in the Detroit Tigers clubhouse?
Chaos? Anarchy? Both, from the fans and the players?
Of course, managers get to dictate the rules in their clubhouses. And, there have been other teams with facial hair and haircut rules. For decades, the New York Yankees have had a strict rule about beards, which is why so many current and former players have rocked mustaches – including Mr. Mattingly.
It would be completely unimaginable for the Detroit Tigers to create and enforce a policy that restricts facial hair. Several of the players on the team, including Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, and Nick Castellanos, are practically unrecognizable without their statement beards. Other players, like Miguel Cabrera, Anibal Sanchez, and Victor Martinez, often wear a little miniature goatee throughout the season. It is common to even see Brad Ausmus sporting a bit of a manicured scruff. Those beards become a regular part of the players’ appearances.
Several of the newest Detroit Tigers teammates also regularly sport facial hair. Daniel Norris wears one of the most amazing beards throughout the offseason and he enjoys a toned-down version in season. Mike Pelfrey, Matt Boyd, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and several other new faces have fashionable facial hair that they appear to wear comfortably.
Would these players want to be Tigers if the clubhouse banned this form of expression? Probably not, but the Detroit Tigers clubhouse is a popular place to be. Banning facial hair could negatively influence the quality of the clubhouse.
There are rumors that players would turn down a position with the Yankees because of the facial hair rules. According to CBS Sports, David Price is one such player. A few years ago, closing pitcher Brian Wilson said he would not sign with the Yankees because of their facial hair policy. Remember when Joba Chamberlain signed with the Tigers in 2014. The first thing he did was throw away his razor so he could grow that epic beard. That beard took on a life of its own.
The Yankees facial hair rules date back to the Steinbrenner days and the years before he owned the team. He felt that the team needed to look military sharp with no hair below the collar and no beards. Mustaches were accepted. The majority of the teams asked their players not to wear facial hair throughout much of the 20th century. This trend lasted for decades, until Reggie Jackson decided he wanted to wear a mustache in the early 1970s.
Ironically, one of the most iconic hair moments in Yankees history involves Don Mattingly who was actually benched for his hair. I have a hard time believing that this man will actually be able to enforce a hair policy – especially if his players know anything about baseball days of yore. Is Mattingly looking for a fight? Is this rule a clear sign that Mattingly is already struggling with control of his team?
I am perplexed by the rules that ban facial hair. In a job where everyone has to wear the same thing, it is nice to see some individuality. Whether the beard is as perfectly groomed as Verlander’s or as lumberjack-wild as Norris’s, if the beard does not interfere with the player’s performance, then what is the problem? As a female fan, I actually like the way the players look with their beards. (I’m not a fan of the mustaches…but if it brings a team together, I’m all for it).
I have to applaud Ausmus and Ilitch for giving players room to wear their facial hair how they want to wear it. I hope that they keep the clubhouse a happy place that is focused on baseball, not on beards. Keep the beard in Detroit.