By Connor Donahue
Facial hair can tell a thousand words.
This bearded band of brothers that occupies the Red Sox clubhouse this year is the exact opposite of the mishap of a team that was the 2012 Red Sox. Led by manager Bobby Valentine, last year’s Red Sox finished in last place in the American League East last year posting a 69-93 record. It is apparent that a lack of chemistry in the locker room had a lot to do with the on-the-field issues.
This is a whole new team. Led by the new skipper John Farrell, previously the pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox from 2007-2010, the Red Sox have a completely different outlook. This is in large part due to some new additions; Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, and Shane Victorino to name a few. Patient zero for the beard craze is Jonny Gomes: “Jonny Gomes showed up to training camp with a pretty long beard already, and he said ‘Let’s just grow our beards out’ , and everyone caught on and we’ve been growing them ever since,” said Red Sox first basemen Mike Napoli. Napoli’s beard, in terms of volume, is the greatest out of everyone in the ball club. Nicknamed “The Siesta,” he says shampooing, conditioning, and combing his beard has become a part of the daily routine.
The beards must be paying off; the Sox finished the regular season with a 97-65 record and is 1 win away from their third World Series title in the past 10 years. Just like 2004, Boston is playing the St. Louis Cardinals who have been hot with timely hitting and great starting pitching; However, the Red Sox certainly have the advantage in one category: facial hair.