Baseball, Beards, and Spitting! Yikes!

In the last couple of days, I watched more baseball than I have in a couple of years. In the end, it was not much fun for someone from Texas, though I’ve got to give tons of credit to the St. Louis Cardinals. They proved to have great fortitude in addition to great talent.

But I have one gripe and one question.

My gripe is this: spitting. Not only did I see more baseball in the last week than I have in a long time, but also I saw more spitting than I have in the last decade. At one point, I started to count the number of spits in an inning, but I lost track into the twenties. I realize that lots of players are chewing tobacco. I hear that some have gone healthier, with sunflower seeds or gum. But, I don’t care if they’re chewing their tongues, the spitting thing is obnoxious. I suppose if I were to watch baseball all the time I’d get used to it. But, frankly, this gives me a good reason not to watch. I just don’t particularly want to watch people spitting all the time.

One of the most impressive beards in baseball belongs to Brian Wilson, relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Most of the beards in the World Series were nicely trimmed. If Wilson wants to help his team into the series, he should get a beard trimmer.

My question: What’s up with the beards? It seemed like almost every player on the Cardinals and the Rangers had a beard. Now this doesn’t bother me. I wore a beard for more than half of my adult life. I’m just curious about where the beard wearing came from. In the olden days, professional athletes had short, well-managed hair, and they were almost always clean-shaven. Now, it’s not uncommon to see long hair flowing out from the back of NFL helmets. And I guess if you really want to play in the World Series, you’d better have a beard. And not just a scruffy “I’m not shaving during the playoffs” beard, but a well-manicured beauty. Does anybody know when baseball players started wearing beards? Is there some magic reason?

I can see only one major problem with the beard thing, and that’s the mixture of beard and spitting. I’d be afraid to guess what’s lurking in some of those beards. Ugh!

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  • I thought that the beards (or at least some of them) were inspired by the NHL “playoff beard” – the superstition that you shouldn’t shave during the playoffs.  IMO, this works better, and looks better, in a sport like hockey.  The Brian Wilson beard, however, wouldn’t fit under this rubric – unless it was a holdover from last year.

    Can’t help on the spitting front.

  • Anonymous

    Randy: Thanks. I had thought so too, but the beards are so long and carefully shaped (at least most of them), that I think there’s some serious style trend happening here.