July 22, 2007

A Herd of Goatees

There has been nearly a ticker-tape parade’s worth of commentary and appreciation for ‘The Return of the Baseball Mustache, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Grow Some Goddamned Facial Hair.'

But I’m sorry—is the rest of the country blind? Pro athletes have had a passion for facial hair for the past three or four years. Have others already forgotten that Johnny Damon lived under a rock for an off-season and grew an Old Man in the Mountain, Father Time birdhouse beard? And have they not noticed the plague of the goatee that has spread across professional sports? I hold in my hand a stack of 59 cards, taken from 2006 and 2007 Topps, of players and managers sporting a sideless beard.

I, for one, am happy that the mustache is coming back. I was just watching Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard Nixon and his character’s mustache comes to symbolize the pent-up desperation and aggression rattling around inside. What are baseball players if not vehicles for our vicarious expression of emotion? And hell, any college senior can tell you the goatee won’t help you score…unless you hang out at a Viennese coffee house, trading Marxist barbs and passing off variations on permanent revolution theory as your own with your fellow Trotskyites, or you have a card table on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and sell “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For McGovern” bumper stickers. Then you need all the help you can get.

No comments: