Given the popularity of the MLB and associated video games, fantasy leagues and 24/7 coverage, baseball at that level is as much about entertainment as it is about the actual game. If WWE is 100% entertainment, then NFL is 60% and MLB is now 50%. There is nothing wrong with this, because MLB has been able to keep the game relatively pure and without a doubt puts the best players in the world on the field, competing very hard 162 games a year. The quality of MLB baseball is lot better than the quality of WWE wrestling.
But, the 50% entertainment part is hard to miss:
– Crazy beards
– Crazy hair
– Full body tattoos, etc…
Players want to develop an image, be noticed and standout in the entertainment business. Goofy hair and crazy beards is an easy way to stand out and establish your entertainment brand. Hey, look at me. It makes perfect sense and it works. It always has worked — from 1960’s rock to the WWE and now to MLB players. From Al Hrabosky to Brian Wilison — this is not new.
If I was being paid a lot of money to play baseball, and was focused on my personal entertainment brand, I would probably do the same thing.
But, if you are not in the entertainment business, if you are just playing baseball to compete and get better and have fun, it makes little sense to have long hair and Duck Dynasty beards. It is a summer sport. It is impractical and lacks common sense to have long hair and a DD beard when competing for 2 hours in 90+ degree sunshine. Long hair in football may be OK for NFL players looking to standout on the field of entertainment and on Madden 2014, but long hair hanging out of a football helmet incredibly impractical and frankly stupid. DD beards and long hair in baseball are not much different.
So, here is the problem … I am starting to look around and see too many players and coaches in the amateur baseball world imitating MLB entertainers in the area of personal grooming. Amateur baseball is not entertainment. It is impractical to have long hair and crazy beards in an amateur dugout. Seeds sticking in long beards just looks stupid. When I see coaches wearing Evoshield wristbands, I laugh at them. What’s the point? Same thing goes for paid coaches with crazy beards and long hair. If you are getting paid (anything) to be a baseball coach or are coaching baseball at a high level, there is no reason to have long hair and a crazy beard.
It sends the wrong message. Amateur baseball is not about entertainment or personal branding.
Obviously, amateur baseball players/coaches will do whatever they want to do and I respect their right to do that. But, if you want to standout and be noticed for personal grooming habits, you have to recognize that people are going to ask the “What’s the point”. And, the answer is sometimes pretty obvious.