Let the record show that The Paper of Record is horrified by the unkempt state of Yankee jawlines.
For the second time this month, the Times, they are a strainin' to enforce the Yankee team ban on mustaches, beards, goatees, Coopers, burns, porn stars, chops, Fu Manchus, Abe Lincolns, Charlie Chaplins, handlebars, soul patches, lip sweaters, flavor savers, crumb catchers, cookie dusters, mouth brows, and - in the case of CC Sabathia and Grammy-magnet Adele - five o'clock deer ticks.
Hal Steinbrenner -maintaining one of his dad's greatest traditions, (along with overpriced, mediocre teams) - refuses to let his hired work till their chins into victory gardens. Today's Gray Lady chronicles CC's incredible act of defiance, as if happened on Tiananmen Square.
Sabathia pitched with neatly groomed stubble across his face. It was a far cry from the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, but Sabathia’s shadow — which might be described as several hours beyond 5 o’clock — is noteworthy because of the Yankees’ longstanding policy against beards and long hair.
Wait a minute. The neatly groomed stubble was... "noteworthy?" Good grief, when the games don't count, do the chins count? Noteworthy? I'll tell you what's noteworthy: The fact that CC didn't melt like a snow cone or limp off the mound with a barking knee. What's noteworthy is this guy - who has endured more physical and mental breakdowns than most entire teams face - is still out there at age 36, the last big Yankee 2009 free agent standing, and he remains on track to pitch 200 innings and maybe, maybe - I can't believe I'm writing this - return to the Yankees next year on a scaled-down contract, if he wants to stay in New York.
If there's one thing about CC, it's that the guy has adjusted to everything. He won with heat. When it abandoned him, he moved to finesse. He won at 300 pounds. When the weight crushed his knees, he dieted and lost it. When that didn't work, he put the weight back on. He underwent surgeries. He wore knee braces. He drank away the pain. When that failed, he went into rehab to beat the booze. Now, he's just an old guy out there, pitching on muscle memory, and if Masahiro Tanaka suffers any kind of a setback, bet the house that CC will lead the 2017 Yankees in innings pitched. This guy is a certifiable great Yankee, and they're suggesting Jennifer Steinbrenner mug him in the shower with a Gillette Mach 3 Turbo and can of Barbasol?
Listen: I go back and forth on the Yankee hair ban. That's because I'm an old fuck, and even though I know better, I'm never comfortable with athletes who glam up like peacocks in order to get attention. The great ones never did it. The Babe never grew a beard. Mickey never grew one. Springsteen never grew a beard. (Well, yeah, he tried and failed during Greetings from Asbury Park.) Johnny Carson never grew a beard. I'm still a little creeped out by David Letterman's beard, but I get it: He's retired, he's living his own life, and good for him.
The best solution here, in my stupid, liberal libertarian opinion, would be if we all just pretended not to see chins and burns, especially neatly groomed stubble. If some guy starts growing a ridiculous piece of Salvador Dali, we'll know it, and Jennifer Steinbrenner can clip him during sleep. In the meantime, do we need Department of Hairland Security?