While we can debate Brian Wilson’s suggestion that a beard is “basically the epitome of man" without reaching consensus, L.A.'s eighth-inning reliever is unquestionably right about one thing: There is an “epidemic of beards” in big league baseball.
Being something of a hairy man myself (as well as an aficionado of the Smith Brothers), and with Samantha Zuba’s fun L.A. Times piece about baseball beards as inspiration, I give you a ranking of the Dodgers’ beards.
1. Scott Van Slyke: SVS hits southpaws silly, does a yeoman’s job playing out of position in center field, and is as likable a guy as the locals have had in years. Coolest beard in the National League, whiskers down.
2. Chris Perez: Perez is a stoner and his is “The Stoner Beard.” Extremely manly. A very close second to SVS.
3. Justin Turner: Major style points for the natural coloring. A valuable role player with a star’s beard.
Turn the page for more awesome Dodger beards
4. J.P. Howell: While there is usually some reference to the Amish connected to this beard, I call it “The Sig Ruman.” A top-finisher on a lesser club.
5. Matt Kemp: Handsome, rugged yet refined, manly.
6. Adrian Gonzalez: The profile points to this beard’s limitations. Like the first baseman, with the required commitment, this beard will probably flourish in the second half.
7. Dan Haren: Has potential. Let nature take its course.
8. Clayton Kershaw: The ace is studly in every way except for the stubble. Kershaw’s inability to grow a mustache detracts from the manliness. Chin music scares hitters; a beard like this does not.
For some truly crappy Dodger beards, turn the page.
9. Josh Beckett: I have absolutely no idea what this is.
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10. Brian Wilson: Can a man trying this hard to be cool really be all that cool? This is a clown-act beard, with or without the tiny ponytail he sometimes adds, which all hairs considered makes for an affectation on top of an affectation. I apologize if Wilson does not dye his beard, but many think he has. A dyed beard simply cannot be manly, especially when the color of choice conjures the image of the ugly orange and black of the player's old club, the rival Giants. I dyed my beard blue, not just as an homage to my beloved team, but to make fun of the then-NoCal closer in 2010. Cool in San Francisco, perhaps; not cool in Los Angeles.
This is what I think of when I see Brian Wilson's beard. "Nice hair you got there. You ever find any spiders in it?"
Remember, glove conquers all — and is that also true of the razor?