Tuesday night, we were introduced to the new Family Restroom at Fenway Park during NESN's telecast. It's a state-of-the-art facility with all the lavatory amenities you'd expect in 2013, painted in "left-field wall" green.
Tonight, the Red Sox will offer $1 tickets for anyone wearing a beard, real or otherwise, who lines up at Gate E. Bearded partisans will be allowed to line up starting five hours before game time.
We offered our initial thoughts on Fake Beards the other night:
The Bearded Boys of Summer is a nice story. The best part about all the facial hair growing in the home clubhouse at Fenway Park these days is that it's truly organic. This was something the players did, without any input from the marketing or PR folks. The beards weren't really noticed until the team kept winning. And players began tugging on each other's hairy chinny, chin, chins after walkoff home runs and come-from-behind victories, not because of any marketing plan that called for "good-looking stars" and "sex symbols."
Tonight, the whole #GetBeard gimmick may jump every shark swimming at the New England Aquarium. The Red Sox would not have been able to pull off a legitimate "beard night," where people with real beards, regardless of their stage of growth, got some sort of break on tickets.
Had they done that, the Moonbat Brigades would have marched all the way down from Concord-Carlisle in howling protest as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination filed an immediate court injunction to shut down the rest of the baseball season.
So it's Fake Beards. This way, everyone is happy and the team has stayed well within the boundaries of political correctness.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Fenway Park . . .
As someone who has sported a real beard off and on during the past 30-plus years, faking it here doesn't cut it. Especially since you've made the choice not to cut your facial hair, dealing with all the hassles and dirty looks. When I grew my first beard, sometime around my 17th birthday, thank you Greek ancestors, it was a tool used to avoid whatever local laws were in place that prohibited minors from drinking and/or gambling. Then, depending on the time of year and my mood, my face was clean-shaven or covered in all its furry fury.
Now, I try to remain clean-shaven unless I feel like copping the senior discount at the local Dunkin' Donuts. On the flip side, I can immediate lose 10 to 15 years in appearance by making sure my face doesn't end up looking like Sean Connery's Captain Ramius in "Hunt for Red October."
When it comes to gimmicks like fake beards, rally caps or "white out night" in places like Vancouver [we saw how well that worked in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011], it's easy to understand the marketing mindset behind it. As far as participation goes, it's hard to go against the mob mentality for some, especially those who show up just as the team starts to win or during the playoffs to be fashionable.
A child, not matter how pink, green or orange their hat and how long their artificial beard, gets a pass here. Actually, all of these "fan enhancement experiences" should be the sole domain of children. That's supported by the fact that Wally has the best fake beard in Boston. Any adult who sports a fake beard, especially a male who is biologically capable of growing a real one on his own, ought to be embarrassed for even thinking about following this trend and faking it.
Sporting a faux beard to scam a $1 seat is certainly understandable and admirable. We're always looking for deal. Half of us would probably eat our young just to get to the front of the line on buy-one-get-one-free beer night.
But this whole "fake beard" thing should end at Fenway Park after tonight.
What's next? Hood-sponsored Cowbells?
Hopefully, the phony facial hair will be nearly extinct during the playoffs. Fake beards are something you'd expect at Tropicana Field, assuming you could get them to wrap around 30,000 empty seats. Ditching them en mass will spare Boston and most of its baseball fans from looking like every other juvenile, "gee whiz" baseball city during the playoffs.
The Red Sox have made some terrific strides this season in moving on from all of the faux baseball garbage that added radioactive intensity to the Great Nuclear Winter of 2011-12.
This year, the players are winning and many have grown beards as a symbol of team unity. Each player has his own beard style. It's as unique as his uniform number.
Let them have this.
For any fan, or media member who enjoys a great story, being along for the ride during this season of unexpected success, thrilling comeback victories and damn good baseball should be more than enough to satisfy, especially for those who remember watching Bobby Valentine Town Meetings 20 months ago.
The Red Sox can clinch the American League East Thursday night [their Magic Number is 3]. Being able to type such a line and have it be correct is an incredible accomplishment given where they were a year ago.
State-of-the-art family restrooms and fake beards might make for nice TV, but you don't need either one to enjoy the hell out of these guys.
Just ask anyone who used to stand at the trough.
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