Baseball and mustaches go together like hot dogs and relish — it looks like bile on penis but somehow it endures. Take mustached baseball supermodel Rollie Fingers, for example. The baseball mustache can be enjoyable, even sexy. So why Joba, why? Why did you shave your lovely ‘stache on Sunday?
Thing is I know why Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain shaved. Or at least we have a good dumb theory. But before the big reveal, here’s a shout out to writer Jason Gay for a rollicking piece I spied on WSJ.com about this facial freakishness called Requiem for the Joba Mustache. In the piece, Gay waxes poetic about the thing Joba could’ve waxed off:
It was a mustache to behold. When Chamberlain revealed it upon his arrival in Tampa, it was wispy and unserious, a translucent caterpillar. But six weeks later it had evolved into something robust, almost preening in its fuzziness and breadth. This was a mustache that wanted to be seen. Already it had been compared with the mustache of a sea captain, or a Brooklyn bartender, or that of a cable repairman who wasn’t really there to fix the cable.
Freakin’ excellent writing, that is. Anywho, the piece mourns the loss of the mustache but doesn’t delve into why it happened. Sure it quotes Joba saying, “It wasn’t working, so we decided to get rid of it,” but that leaves about as many questions as Joba has follicles on his face.
Above, that’s Joba attending an exhibition baseball game at West Point Military Academy on March 30th. Look at the cadet stage right of Joba — he looks like he’s ready to bayonet that fuzzy slug if it makes even one false move.
I hung out at West Point when I was a young lass. That place has less facial hair per sq. foot than nearly anywhere on the planet. I attended dances at West Point because the boys smelled like starch, looked as smooth as Ken Dolls and they hadn’t seen girls in dresses in a long, long time. Yeah, that was kind of awesome.
But the baseball mustache can only live if it remains solidly in the world of baseball. Outside the world of baseball you just look like a Williamsburg hipster, the star of a Freddie Mercury tribute show or both. And a baseball mustache at West Point? I don’t buy this “shaved” story — I bet the mustache ran for the hills and is currently holed up in an underground bunker near Binghamton, NY.
I’ve always been a religious Yankees fan. And when I was a girl I didn’t like the players with facial hair and the Yankees seemed to have less of it than any other team.
But I’m a woman now and I can handle the look (and probable smell) of a mustache. I’m not saying I have a pervy thing for them, even thought that’s totally how this is coming across. I just mean that a crazy mustache recalls a confidence and messy bravado of a powerful man that we just don’t see that often anymore other than on things like this paperweight of Governor D. Russell Brown I keep on my desk. And I’m NOT for all facial hair in the game: Beards in baseball are a dangerous thing.
Mr Gay says this mustache will be forgotten by May. Perhaps. But unless Joba does electrolysis all season long — it’s not dead — it can rise again.
All we need to do is have a little faith in something dumb and beautiful.
Amen and PLAY BALL!