The Washington Nationals' community, NatsTown if you will, suffered a serious loss this past winter, when Montreal Expos' '04 4th Round pick Collin Balester and his award-worthy mustache were dealt to the Detroit Tigers. The 25-year-old right-hander's painstakingly maintained lip-warmer drew national attention, earning the owner of a mid-90's fastball and occasionally knee-buckling curve attention for his facial hair from folks who take these things much more seriously than those of us who adopt an irreverent tone when uncomfortably taking on about a subject we're not used to writing about in our fact-based, ultra-serious approach to baseball coverage. The American Mustache Insititute nominated the former Nats' reliever for the 2011 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year Award in what ended up being Balester's final season in the nation's capital. You can see Balester HERE, listed after former NFL coach Mike Ditka and a before a mustachioed veteran of the U.S. Navy whose good name I'll not sully by including it here...
With Balester now plying his trade in the AL Central (he's 1-0 with a 4.30 ERA, 5.74 FIP, 5.52 K/9 and 4.91 BB/9), the D.C. area needs a new facial hair champion or personal grooming idol. While doubling for the first time in the majors this weekend in LA, Bryce Harper inadvertently (or was it purposefully?) threw his hat in the ring by knocking off his helmet, unveiling what's since been referred to (by Yahoo!Sports.com's Dave Brown among others) as the "nuclear mullet", "the skullet", the "Davey Boone", the "faux-hawk" and our personal favorite, the "'Martin Sheen in 'Apocalypse Now.'" Anyone who follows the Nationals closely has been familiar with Harper's hair situation since he debuted in Syracuse a few weeks back, but much of the nation was unaware before the MLB Network's broadcast on Saturday night. It's gotten LOTS of attention since Saturday, but is it the Nationals' best hair/beard/stache?
Harper's mohawk/mullet doesn't yet have its own Twitter account. (ed. note - "Oh, wait, I'm being told it does.") But Jayson Werth's beard's Twitter account (@JWerthsbeard) has been around for a while now. In fact, it came with him from Philadelphia. There are some who think that Werth is more beard than man. Though clean-shaven at his introduction to the nation's capital after signing in the winter of 2010, Werth's more often worn the sort of beard and long hair that had legendary Dodgers' announcer Vin Scully saying this weekend that he, "... always looks like the star of a Passion play." The last member of the Bull Moose party wears a beard like George Hayduke from the "Monkey Wrench Gang", the kind of beard Edward Abbey had Seldom Seen Smith say, "... gave beards a bad name."
At the opposite end of the hair care spectrum, is the third and final entrant in the battle for the nation's capital's champion of grooming, Gio Gonzalez. Stephen Strasburg once said that Gonzalez takes hair care so seriously, "It almost looks like his hair doesn't grow he gets it cut so much." When asked during an MLB Network Radio interview this Spring how often he got his hair cut, Gonzalez said, "I cut my hair twice a week." The hosts were so amused by the 26-year-old left-hander's grooming habits that they asked Gio about the state of his hair again today when he appeared on Inside Pitch and Gonzalez said he's still a fanatic when it comes to his hair. "I am," Gonzalez admitted.
"Right now I'm a little fuzzy," the lefty explained, "Oh, man. It's driving me crazy, I've got like a bad itch right now that I have to cut my hair, but tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll definitely have the barber in town and cut my hair then, and I'm going to cut my hair again on Friday. I have a routine already." The barber Gonzalez uses on a regular basis is one that already worked for the organization when the left-hander arrived in a trade from Oakland this past winter, but Gio said, "Whenever I get a change I fly my barber out to my house and I have him cut my hair too." He flies his barber out? Can you beat that dedication?
Can Jayson Werth's anti-fashion beard and locks outdo Bryce Harper's punk-from-"Star Trek-the-Voyage-Home" hairdo? Does the "Best Dressed Pitcher in Town" Gio Gonzalez win points for his clean-cut appeal? Which National has the nation's capital's iconic hair cut, beard or both? Who's your Nationals' grooming champion? (ed. note - "P.S.: Bonus point to the first person in the comments who says, 'I don't care about beards or hair, I just care how he hits/pitches/plays,' or some variation on the theme w/out recognizing our sarcastic approach to the topic reveals the same attitude.")