Dose of reality to the Fear the Beard phenomenon

Dose of reality to the Fear the Beard phenomenon
September 17, 2013, 1:00 pm
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It’s time to wake up and face reality: Red Sox beards are magic.

(USA Today Sports Images)

Yesterday afternoon, NBC Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra posted a story sarcastically entitled “The Red Sox beards are magical or something” in which he rallied against a growing number of baseball fans who believe that the team’s commitment to facial hair is solely responsible for this exceedingly unbelievable season.

Working off a quote from Jonny Gomes in the Boston Herald, in which the outfielder told John Tomase: “We have the beards. It’s not surprising at all that winning teams have some kind of quirky chemistry,” Calcaterra argued that the Sox success, in reality, is not merely a product of the players sporting beards, but that other factors have come into play. Among them, he cites the improvement of John Lackey, the presence of Dustin Pedroia and the offseason acquisition of Shane Victorino, before adding:

But I guess it’s not enough to praise the moves of the front office and the execution of the players and their new manager. We have to go through "get players who know how to win" stuff. But of course Tomase is right. Just look how bad off that Dodgers team is with Gonzalez and Crawford. They’ve infected the whole bunch!

Or maybe winning is about more than one, easily identifiable thing like beards and losing is about more than one easily identifiable thing like “dour, know-it-all” attitudes.

Hm. OK. With all due respect to Calcaterra, I think I speak for everyone in Boston when I say that he really missed the point here.

Front office moves? Player execution? Having a manager that the team doesn’t want to throw off a cliff? Come on. What is this, fantasy camp?

It’s time to wake up and face reality.

The Red Sox beards are magical or something.

Dustin Pedroia’s beard is basically a force field against pain, and this year alone is responsible for his ability to survive a torn thumb ligament, a badly bruised ankle and a vicious dugout attack by David Ortiz.

Mike Napoli’s beard is called “The Siesta” because it’s prone to prolonged naps, but when it’s awake, The Siesta empowers Napoli with the strength of 1,000 beards. The cumulative gust created by all of the Siesta’s swings and misses has offset the planet’s weather system and led to 2013 being the first year in over a decade not to have a hurricane through the month of August.
 
Shane Victorino’s beard is a baseball magnet, which has allowed him to become a vacuum in right field and left him on the receiving end of a league-leading 17 hit by pitches. David Ortiz’s “The Tease” is the fountain of youth of beards. It can take any man, whether he’s 37 or secretly 45 and help him play like he’s 27. (And complain like he’s 72.)
 
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s beard has majestic curling powers. In fact, a lock of “The Saltine” is the secret ingredient in all Ogilvy home perm products. When an opposing players is at the plate, the aura from Saltalamacchia’s beard subtly tugs at the body hair of the batter, just enough to ruin any and all concentration on the upcoming pitch.

John Lackey’s beard has hypnotized Red Sox fans into liking him again. Jonny Gomes’ is the most powerful and influential beard in this and any galaxy. It’s the William Wallace of beards. It’s a motivator of men. An impregnator of women. It’s responsible for the Red Sox even being in contention. You think it’s just a coincidence that Ryan Dempster leads the majors in run support? Nope. Beard. Or that more than a month after being cleared to pitch, Clay Buchholz couldn’t summon the strength to return until his own beard “The BucK” (with backwards k) was sufficiently wild and ratty? Beard. Duh.
 
Does Mike Carp’s beard look familiar? It should. That’s because it starred as Woogie in Something About Mary and the same magic it brought to that movie has done wonders for this Red Sox season. Who cares if it’s only capable of playing a minor role? Pound for pound it’s the most magical beard in the business.
 
We know that here in Boston.
 
And I guess that’s all that matters.
 
I guess we can’t get wrapped up in the propaganda that will continue to spew out of the Beard Truthers’ camp.
 
You know, some might even go as far to say that these beards are just for fun. Imagine that? Imagine if this whole phenomenon was nothing more than just a cool, little complement to an incredible season. That the only thing these beards are actually responsible for is uniting the players, fans and the entire city? Bringing an extra level of fun and excitement to a sport that’s dying for both? Maybe even catching the attention of new, younger fans?
 
Please.
 
Let them talk. But we know the truth.
 
Beards are everything.
 
From now straight through October.
 
Follow me on Twitter: @rich_levine.