Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes and other Boston Red Sox grew long beards on the way to winning the 2013 World Series. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
No bushy beards on the Reds this season, like the Red Sox wore last year. But the Reds aren't returning to the clean-shaven days, either.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - No bushy bonding in Cincinnati this season. The Reds want players to keep their beards and their locks in check.
First-year manager Bryan Price wants players' hair and beards to be neatly kept this season, in line with the team's policy on appearances. A few of the Reds have long hair and beards. Starter Johnny Cueto's hair still covers his name on the back of his jersey. Price is fine with it.
"Our initial policy was facial hair was fine, but just keep it under control," Price said on Saturday.
The Boston Red Sox made long, scraggly beards their identity last season on their way to a World Series championship. Boston players shaved them off after the season, with several players donating the hair for charity fundraisers.
The Reds were known for their strict hair and appearance policies in the 1970s and 1980s. They insisted that players stay clean-shaven and show their red stirrups in uniform. When reliever Jim Kern wanted a trade during the 1982 season, he grew a beard in violation of the team's policy and was sent to the White Sox.
The policy even applied to the media guide. When the Reds got infielder Wayne Krenchicki, they only photo available showed him with a moustache. The team covered up the moustache in the media guide photo.
Price has no desire to go back to those days.
"I don't think you're going to be terribly successful sitting there trying to turn the clock back on the clubhouse too far," Price said.
He plans to meet with some of the team's leaders when the position players report for their first workout on Monday and get their thoughts about some proposed rules. All teams have policies on what's expected of players.
"I don't think there's anybody in there that's looking to turn this place into 'Fantasy Island' and go crazy in there," Price said. "I think everyone likes to understand what the rules are and where the lines are drawn. But I think it's something worth discussing with the players instead of mandating them unilaterally."