It’s almost 2024 and the Yankees still won’t allow beards

Earlier this year, the New York Yankees made headlines when they added sponsored sleeve patches to player jerseys. While this move was seen as a modernization of the team’s branding and a way to generate additional revenue, it also highlighted the fact that the Yankees have been slow to let go of their outdated facial hair policy.

The Yankees’ grooming policy, instituted by owner George Steinbrenner in 1976, states that players are not allowed to have beards, long hair, mutton chops, or other unconventional hairstyles. The policy was intended to instill a sense of discipline and order in the team, but it has become increasingly out of touch with the times.

Cameron Maybin, a former player for the Yankees, recently took to Twitter to argue that the team should abolish its facial hair rule. Maybin believes that eliminating the rule would make the Yankees a more attractive destination for free agents. He stated, “You wouldn’t believe how many quality players just think it’s a wack rule to have.”

Maybin’s comments highlight an important point – in today’s game, individualism and self-expression are valued by players. The strict grooming policy of the Yankees takes away from players’ ability to express themselves and be comfortable in their own skin.

It’s not just Maybin who feels this way. Andrew McCutchen, who played for the Yankees in 2018, argued that the policy “takes away from our individualism as players and as people” because his beard was a form of self-expression.

The Yankees’ facial hair policy has also cost them potential signings. Cy Young winner David Price stated in 2013 that he would never join the Yankees specifically because of their grooming policy. Similarly, Brian Wilson, the former closer for the San Francisco Giants, was eliminated from consideration as a free agent by the Yankees because he refused to shave.

Perhaps the most iconic example of the policy’s impact is Johnny Damon. During his time with the Boston Red Sox, Damon was known for his big beard and long hair. However, when he signed with the Yankees in 2005, he had to shave it all off. Damon later admitted that he couldn’t part with his locks entirely and kept them in a bag under his sink.

The Yankees’ facial hair policy has been in place for almost 50 years, but it may be time for a change. In a league where individuality and self-expression are celebrated, the policy seems out of touch and unnecessary. It’s time for the Yankees to reevaluate their grooming policy and allow players to express themselves freely. By doing so, they may attract a wider range of talent and become a more appealing destination for free agents.

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