Arizona Diamondbacks starter Archie Bradley believes he’s solved the riddle that will bring him success in Major League Baseball.
He’s grown a full and seemingly untamed beard.
Speaking to the media at the Diamondbacks spring training facility this week, Bradley revealed that he hasn’t shaved since Oct. 31, a span that now covers 108 days. Obviously, the media deducted it had been awhile just based on his appearance, but the more important question was why, which Bradley was happy to answer.
— azcentral (@azcentral) February 15, 2017
The original decision to stop shaving was not related to Halloween, but rather no-shave November. The decision to carry that into spring training had nothing to do with looking good on Valentine’s Day. Instead, Bradley believes there’s good karma, citing the beards of recent Cy Young winners like Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta.
It’s an interesting philosophy, isn’t it?
There hasn’t been a full-scale study on the beard-to-success ratio, but it seems like two out of every three sports beards are geared toward superstition, such as playoff beards in football or hockey, or a hopeful performance boost. We’ve also seen it as a team bonding measure, which was the case with the 2013 Boston Red Sox.
In other words, it’s not exactly a new trend in baseball or sports in general, but it’s still an impressive commitment when players go all-in like Bradley has.
The 24-year-old right-hander could certainly use a boost too. Through 34 career starts, the No. 7 overall pick from the 2011 draft has posted a disappointing 5.18 ERA. The Diamondbacks aren’t ready to give up, but this season feels like a pretty important one in terms of his development, production and the determination of his value.
Beard or no beard, Bradley needs 2017 to be his breakout.
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