YANKEE RULES – Almost Home

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Just for once, I would love to see someone NOT play by the rules, and by that I am referring to the Yankee rule prohibiting beards and long hair. It strikes me as petty, out of date and perhaps even harmful.

Look what happened to Clint Frazier. Remember all the fuss over his curly locks after the Yankees acquired him?

Clint Frazier — Fuzzy Was He

He was practically impeached! Higher-ups came down on him hard and Frazier was forced to cut everything off. In my opinion, it wasn’t just hair that was lost. It was also his image. He looked like a shorn sheep and no longer played with the flair I so admired.

Frazier feeling sheepish

Not to get carried away but as far as I’m concerned, Frazier’s identity was hijacked.

The club’s long hair policy has been around for decades.

Don Mattingly as himself

Even Don Mattingly, the team’s great first baseman from 1982 to 1995, was a victim when owner George Steinbrenner said cut it or else.

George Steinbrenner
Donny Baseball after Steinbrenner

More recently, there’s Edwin Encarnacion. I always thought his beard made him look ferocious before he became a Yankee.

Bring ’em on — Edwin Encarnacion

Pitchers practically wilted when he stepped to the plate. For seven straight seasons, he hit 30 or more home runs.

Then he donned pinstripes. With one swipe of the razor, Encarnacion went from looking like the devil incarnate to resembling a cuddly teddy bear.

Oh what a cuddly fellow I am

He hit like a teddy bear, too, especially during the last post season. The club dropped him.

Look, I get it. If the club is paying, it has the right to set the rules. If the Yankees want their players to look squeaky clean — more American, perhaps? — so be it. But I find this rule emasculating, and I’d love to see what happens when the Yankees, in desperate need of frontline pitcher, go after someone like Gerrit Cole.

Gerrit cuts loose without a cut

Will Cole shave his beard and cut his hair for $30 million a year, or how ever much the Yankees toss at him? What if he said no unless I can keep my hair and beard, what would the Yankees do then? Relent? Hold fast to their corporate line?

Madison Bumgarner is a free agent, too.

Madison Bumgarner — mug shot?

The Giants pitcher has always been the independent sort, strong-willed and never shy about speaking his mind.

Madison does his thing

If the Yankees make an offer he likes, will he bend, take the money and shave?

There’s also Dallas Keuchel. I confess that I really don’t like his beard, but I defend his right to keep it.

Dallas and the big time beard

Yes, money talks. But I’d love it if just someone would be stubborn enough to say, “Not for a million bucks am I going to shave my beard or cut my hair. It’s part of me and if you want me on your team, you are going to have to take ALL of me.”

Full disclosure: I don’t have a beard or long hair, but if I did, would I agree to lose it all for big bucks?

Of course I would! I’d be first in line at the barber shop. What do you take me for? A fool?

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