Loosey Goosey Sox Just Like We Were 14 Years Ago

Sox

Boston Red Sox’s Mike Napoli, right, has his beard tugged by teammate David Ross at the dugout in celebration of Napoli’s solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Seeing David Ross grab Mike Napoli’s beard after Napoli’s two-run homer in the bottom of the first against the Yankees Sunday night had me waxing nostalgic to 14 years ago.

There we were on the outfield grass before another game, a ragtag bunch of blue-collar collegiate baseball players stretching out — by playing Duck, Duck, Goose, of course.  It was an actual part of our pre-game ritual on the Salem State College baseball team.

True story.

“GOOSE!” If we heard it, and were tapped on the head, we wanted to chase down our teammate like a flyball. It got competitive. But we laughed the whole time. We still laugh non-stop when we get together every now and then.
You know, looking back at this, I think we won most of our games right then and there in the pre-games.

After all, we had to have either freaked out our opponents so badly into playing with fear, or, perhaps just the opposite – got them thinking we were a bunch of idiots who didn’t take things seriously; and hence, they let their guards down.

Plus, it got us loose. We never took ourselves too seriously.

Whatever the formula, we ended up winning 26 games that year, won the league title had an All-American and led the nation in home runs per game.

The point here, and this has long been debated around successful ballclubs, is that team chemistry does matter. I’ve been through it. We were connected that year more than any other, from the Duck, Duck, Goose games, to actual baseball games, and even off the field. The bus rides were a riot (even if Coach nixed the idea of watching “Bull Durham” when Susan Sarandon came into the flick). Heck, we even went down with the ship together during our Florida trip (violating curfew concerns).

Bottom line – we liked each other. We trusted one another. Just like the 2013 Red Sox do.

For them, it’s the beard-grabbing, helmet-punting type of stuff. For us, it was making the pre-game outfield ritual look like kindergarten recess.

Red Sox Beards and Baldies

Beard

Baldies and beards, oh my!

The bald and bearded look is the new hotness for the Red Sox.  You’re not cool unless your head is shining and your beard needs a daily groom.  Oh you have hair on your head and not your face? I’m sorry little boy, this team is not for you.  Much like the crazy coifs of the 2004 idiots, these 2013 grinders have created a look their very own.

Why shave your face when you can shave your head? Right? I guess? Well, who cares. These Red Sox are bald and beautiful. Do not judge me.  Instead follow me as I shamelessly analyze four grown men’s hair styling.

Johnny Gomes (pictured above) is not a natural baldie, but the close buzz shows he’s trying.  The facial hair hits you before you know what’s up.

“Who is this bearded nobody–” BOOM. Walk off homer in your face!

victorino beard

Shane Victorino was rocking the mohawk for a while, but has recently chosen the shaven path.  For the patchiness, all I can say is at least he’s trying.  That’s all you can ask for in the beard game.

 

 

pedroia BeardDustin Pedroia: The leader of the beard crusade ditched the hair long ago.  His manly mane is about as big as his game and hair as nonexistent as his errors.

 

 

napoli beard

Napoli: KABLOW! Explosive. That’s the only word for Naps extendo-beard.  It just keeps going and going, much like his home runs.

No one knew what kind of team the 2013 squad would be.  Well here they are in all their bald/bearded glory.  The Sox have an identity after everyone questioned them.  They grind to the very end, game after game.  They shave their heads, game after game, and leave their beards be.