Friday, February 17, 2017

The "Corporate Look" needs a new definition...

This week, Kunj Shah had a great post on the Pinstripe Alley website that the Yankees need to reconsider their policy on facial hair.  I could not agree more.  The policy is outdated, and it should be updated to reflect today’s society and its ever-changing attitudes.


I am, by no means, saying that there should be a revised policy to allow for Johnny Damon’s “Caveman” look with the Boston Red Sox, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with short well-groomed facial hair.

When George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in 1973, he implemented the facial hair policy to give the Yankees a corporate look.   The official policy states all players, coaches and male executives are forbidden to display any facial hair other than mustaches (except for religious reasons), and scalp hair may not be grown below the collar.

I remember back in the 1980’s when Don Mattingly tweaked management by growing out his hair to the outer limits of the policy.  It was silly then, and it is even sillier today.  Some relaxation of the policy is warranted.  I am okay if they keep away from hair length to avoid the looks presently displayed by Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets or Jon Gray of the Colorado Rockies.  I definitely do not want to see the ‘Fear the Beard’ look that former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson sported a few years ago. 

Baseball is a game of intimidation.  Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looks fine without facial hair when throwing a 103 mph fastball but other guys are not so fortunate.  I thought former Yankees catcher Brian McCann looked cool in Atlanta with his beard, but as a Yankee, he looked “puffy” clean shaven.
When Yankee players leave the team, growing a beard seems to be a prerequisite.  Robinson Cano and David Robertson stand out to me as recent examples.  There are incoming Yankees with a history of facial hair.  The off-season workout videos featuring new DH Matt Holliday show the short beard comparable to those that Cano and Robertson quickly adopted upon their respective departures. 

What’s the difference between a moustache (or the long sideburns of the 1970’s) and beard stubble?  It does not make the player more unprofessional.  Again, I am not preaching for long hair over the collar or a beard that makes the player look like a Farrell family relative on the TV show Outsiders. 

I remain supportive of the team’s policy to disallow player names on the back of jerseys. 

Hal Steinbrenner has shown that he is not his father.  He should extend this to his own beliefs regarding facial hair.  Granted, he is as clean shaven as they come (conformity to company policy), but he appears have more open-minded views than his dad.  In the off-seasons, there have been pics of Brian Cashman sporting facial hair so he’d certainly be on board (or so it would seem).  A guy willing to repel off buildings probably wouldn’t care if Greg Bird forgot to bring his razor on a road trip. 

I am sure there are a number of Yankees fans that feel very strongly about keeping tradition.  But conversely, there are subtle changes that can be made to update policy without compromising professionalism.  Allowing short, well-groomed facial hair is not going to lead to a complete collapse or disregard of rules. 

Unless he has stock in Norelco or Gillette, it’s time for Hal to make the change…

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