The Hair Club
Manager Buck Showalter confirmed today that he has gotten approval to relax the team's facial hair policy, but there is a caveat.
"It's kind of, 'Can they keep it presentable?'" he said. "They're going to police themselves."
Both Showalter and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail approached owner Peter Angelos after the club brought in two veterans -- Derrek Lee (left) and Vladimir Guerrero -- who have long worn goatees.
"I asked Derrek how long he had that, and he said he couldn't remember when he didn't," Showalter said, "and he's one of the really good clubhouse-presence guys."
Showalter told the players early in camp that if having the option of wearing a well-trimmed beard was important to them, he would make an attempt to relax the policy, which has been in effect for most of the Angelos ownership era.
When I asked Buck what would constitute acceptable facial hair, he told me to look in the mirror. I guess that was a compliment. Since my photo accompanying this blog pictures me clean-shaven, you'll have to (ugh!) use Dan Connolly's mugshot at right as a reference point.
The facial hair policy was a big issue when Kevin Millar with the club and reported to training camp in 2006. He loved to keep a five-day growth and was coming from a Red Sox team that had Manny Ramirez and all his strange grooming incarnations but could not make a dent in the policy during his three seasons in Baltimore.
The important thing to remember, however, is that the facial hair policy is at the discretion of ownership, and Showalter indicated that it could get tightened in a hurry if the Orioles start looking scruffy.
Associated Press photo
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