December 06, 2010
A day after announcing Werth's mega-deal at baseball's winter meetings, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Big League Stew the club has a policy about facial hair.
No werewolves allowed.
"The team policy is, facial hair is OK, but it's got to be groomed," Rizzo said Monday night. "It's got to be nicely ... professionally groomed."
Hmm. Surely, some of the hairier looks Werth sported with the Philadelphia Phillies would break the rules. The beard Werth wore during the NL Playoffs, for example, probably would violate the Nats whisker statutes.
But, Rizzo said, Werth was in compliance as of a few days ago.
"When I last saw him, he had no beard," said Rizzo, who happens to wear a salt and pepper goatee. "So, yes, he fits the parameters."
Team rules really should say the other Nats have to grow out their faces at Werth's whim. Sort of like when everyone on Roy Hobbs' team got a lightning bolt patch in "The Natural." Losing is a disease, and the Nats added Werth to help cure them.
Paradoxically, Rizzo admits Werth's beard was — in a way — part of why they inked him to a seven-year, $126-million deal.
"One of the main reasons we were interested in him was, he re-grew the beard for the playoff run," Rizzo said. "And that's the most important reason. He's often in the playoffs, he's a championship-caliber player, and he excels at the biggest stages in baseball.
"We like that he's a little bit of a free spirit, and that he's got a little bit of pizazz to him. But he is the ultimate professional between the lines. That's a big reason why we got him."
Imagine for a moment that the Nats are driving for the playoffs with Werth in right field. Imagine harder. Use all the imagination you got. OK. Would His Shagginess be told to shave his "playoff beard" in the middle of a pennant race?
"That's a question you have to ask the manager, who enforces those policies," Rizzo said, making Jim Riggleman the bad guy/barber.
Rizzo said the Nats didn't have many, if any, beards in 2010. They tried some "Fu Manchu mustaches," Rizzo said, but nothing too hairy.
Maybe they should think about conforming to the non-conformist in right field and let their hair down a little.
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