How to Grow a Playoff Beard (and a Challenge for the Ladies)
For fans of baseball playoff teams, tomorrow is a big day. It’s the last day of the MLB regular season, and the first day of playoff beard growth. There’s a healthy chance that I’ve been misunderstanding this tradition for years, but wikipedia identifies the playoff beard as a hockey phenomenon, but I just don’t get it. Maybe that’s because I don’t care for hockey or have a “favorite team.” Maybe it’s because everyone in hockey has a permanent beard.
Whatever the reason, I’ve always thought of the playoff beard as a baseball thing and I’m happy to say that I’ll be continuing that trend this season as my Braves head into the NL postseason against a ton of other slumping teams to see who can get hot for a week or so at a time. Baseball is the game I associate most with crazy superstitions and non-scientific ways to improve your team’s chance of winning, so the playoff beard has to be a part of it. To make sure I was doing it right, I took a look around the internet for some official guidelines and came up pretty empty. So I decided to make them. SpreeGoogs is an institution for this kind of tangential sports knowledge, so, here it goes.
Editor’s note: I realize that I don’t really address the benefits of a playoff beard in the intro to this list. Please understand that it’s really hard to do that in a way that doesn’t self-commit you to an asylum. It’s the best way to show support for a playoff team and in the most ridiculously non-scientific way ever, gives you reason to brag about helping your team.
11 Official Guidelines for Growing a (Baseball) Playoff Beard
1. Shave immediately after the last regular season game ends — For most teams, that game happens some time tomorrow (Sunday). It’s not the postseason until that final game ends, so start as soon as possible. Make it a good shave, because it’s going to have to last you a while (if you’re lucky).
2. Shave all the way down — A lot of men prefer the scruff or stubble look. It’s a great way to keep yourself groomed without looking 12 years old, which is something I know I struggle with. But for this occasion, that’s not an option. For it to be legitimate, you have to use a razor, go all the way down, and let that skin show.
4. Advertise — You have to tell people that you’re growing a playoff beard or else they will think that you’re just trying to look homeless. It’s an easy way to start a conversation with anyone and raises awareness for your team. Double win. It’ll probably turn into some real baseball wins too.
5. Accessorize your beard with clothing/hats — As part of advertising your team spirit, dress the beard up with a jersey, a shirt or a hat. That way, you’ll look more baseball appropriate and you’ll have more ammo to advertise with.
6. Wash your beard — Growing the hair makes the team win. Washing it keeps you from losing. When I grow my beard, I like to shampoo it every day. None of the superstition rinses out and it keeps you smelling fresh all day.
7. Brag that your playoff beard gives you more credibility than other fans of your team — This is obvious. When I see other people wearing Braves gear during the playoffs, I look down on them if they don’t have a beard. It’s all of our responsibility to give the team an edge, and if you’re not growing a beard, you’re not trying hard enough. If you’re a baseball fan with a clean face next week, your fanhood is certainly in question.
8. You’re not an exception — You have to go a wedding? You have a job interview? Well then everyone in the universe should keep growing their beards out except you. In this big huge world of ours, you’re the one special, unique case that makes breaking the one rule we all agreed to acceptable. Sorry if the sarcasm didn’t come off in that, in reality the entire point of growing the beard is to sacrifice your own personal appearance for the superstition of your favorite team. Looking ridiculous is the point.
9. Convince other people that you are helping the team win — The playoff beard is a superstition that’s supposed to bring your team luck, so manifest that luck into on-field success as many times as possible. That gust of wind that blew the ball foul before it could go over the fence? Playoff bears. That umpire blowing a call at first? Playoff beard. The two-for-one deal on slurpees at 7-11 that provides you with cheering fuel? Beard. A playoff beard is kind of like the Matrix, it’s making things happen all around you, you just have to open your eyes and see what other people can’t.
10. Once your team is eliminated, go back to normal — You’re not growing a playoff beard as a bridge to growing a real beard. If you keep it going after you lose, it’s not even a playoff beard at all, it’s just a beard beard, and none of those has ever won a baseball game for anyone.
But wait, an estimated 10-15% of you are saying, I’m female and cannot grow a beard. What can I do? That’s why I’m shattering this glass ceiling and proposing:
Bonus Guideline for Female Playoff Beards
11. Starting right now, as soon as your eyes hit these words, stop changing jewelry/accessories until your team is out of the playoffs. If you’re wearing a watch right now, you wear it until your team is out of the playoffs. Hoop earrings? Awesome, those are going to look great for two weeks straight. No accessories at all? That’s going to make you look awfully out of place at that wedding next weekend, but that slow roller that hits the base before it goes out of bounds will make it worth it.
After that, you basically just follow rules 4-11 from above.
Have you grown a playoff beard before? Are you trying one this postseason? Tell us about it in the comments.