Big League Stew - MLB

Jason Giambi's legendary mustache is no more and Carlos Zambrano's Zapatatastic model sadly turned out to be just a momentary fancy.

So which MLB player's whiskers will be the, um, hair apparent to Fashion Ump's obsessions in 2009?

Well, since he's going on his third season of sporting a nicely groomed beard that's now being inspired by Gladiator, I suggested to Dodgers' third baseman Casey Blake on Tuesday morning that he could be our guy.

In response, Blake just chuckled.

"My wife hates it," he said. 

So why struggle through an entire scratchy season, especially in the Los Angeles heat?

"I think I've kept it for a number of reasons," said Blake, who had just finished batting practice on Camelback Ranch's main field when he was bombarded with my inane line of questioning. "Number one is laziness and just not wanting to shave. Number two is that it kinda hides my chin a little bit. Number three is that it's good camo in the offseason for duck hunting." 

Blake then went onto offer a few grooming tips for those Stewies who might be aspiring to look like him. (I told a disappointed Blake that I got rid of my mine as soon as I was done with the NHL's Winter Classic at Wrigley and a weekend of Wisconsin ice fishing. OK, he didn't really look disappointed, just bored. Was he not entertained?

"I have to pluck the grays — there are a lot of grays in there," said Blake, who will turn 36 in August. "But there are the times when it gets too shaggy. If I can bite the hair under my lower lip, then it's time for a trim. I've been cutting it out on the sides lately. Kind of like a Maximus look, I guess."

Blake resigned with the Dodgers in December for three years and $18 million and will be honored in Chavez Ravine this season with his own bobblehead giveaway on May 20.

"See, it even has a beard," Blake pointed out. "So I have to keep it." 

Did they do a good job at recreating its majesty?

"I thought they did,"  he said.

It's settled then. Blake will bring us the beard in '09. 

And we will love him for it.

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