In 1991, Don Mattingly was benched by Stump Merrill for refusing to get a haircut, in violation of the Yankees’ policy against long hair and beards. The incident was spoofed on a classic “Simpsons” episode, where Mr. Burns rips Mattingly for his non-existent sideburns.
Mattingly called the rule silly. But 25 years later, the Marlins’ manager has imposed a ban on facial hair with his new team. Donnie Baseball, who wore a mustache as a Yankee, said he wants his players to feel like equals.
Come on, banning facial hair will unify the troops? This is 2016. Mattingly comes off like one of those grumpy old men who thinks players with tattoos are thugs, and touchdown celebrations are a threat to our national character.
Did he watch the World Series? I imagine so, since his Dodgers did their annual flameout. Virtually every player on the champion Royals had facial hair. What did Joe Maddon do to inspire the Cubs last season? He grew a beard. How about hockey players bonding with playoff beards?
Here’s a thought: Instead of shaving beards, stop shaving payroll. The Marlins have the third-lowest payroll in baseball. You want to inspire the team? Pay them more.