The Yankees Forcing Players To Shave But Allowing Them To Wear Gigantic Chains Makes No Sense

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Robert McGreevy Contributor
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When the New York Yankees traded for bitter rival Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo, the mercurial outfielder was forced to shave his bushy red beard to comply with a long-standing Yankee rule about facial hair.

The long-standing Yankee rule asserts that players can’t have hair past their shoulder length and forbids any facial hair aside from a mustache.

Verdugo, who rocked a big ol’ fuzzy ginger beard in Boston, was traded to the Yankees in December and was forced to shave his iconic face bush.

But a fresh-faced Verdugo still showed up to Yankees picture day rocking an outlandishly heavy set of silver chains that look more like they belong on the neck of a 25o pound rapper from Atlanta than a guy who plays for baseball’s most storied franchise. (RELATED: MLB’s New Uniforms Are So Cheap You Can See Players Balls)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 23: The chain of Rougned Odor #18 of the New York Yankees is seen against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium on June 23, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Now, I don’t really care for the Yankees facial hair rule. I’m a big live-and-let-live guy. But if you’re going to maintain stringent standards for appearances, why stop with facial hair? Why allow this dude to represent your brand with a platinum choker like he’s in a BET music video?

It makes no sense to me. Not that I have a particular issue with grown men wearing jewelry. I do think it’s silly to wear a heavy chain in a game where you need to move quickly, but I don’t have any personal problems with a dude wanting to express himself through shiny neckwear like he’s a 1500 BC Egyptian Emperor.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JUNE 02: Ozzie Albies #1 of the Atlanta Braves kisses his chains as he approaches the plate in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park on June 02, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

But I just don’t understand the Yankees’ double standard here.

Late great Yankees owner George Steinbrenner implemented the “Neatness Counts” standards in the 1970s, claiming he was “trying to instill a certain sense of order and discipline.”

Sorry, but there isn’t a whole lot of discipline in letting guys show up to camp looking like Flava Flav.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 09: Flavor Flav attends 'Shaq's Fun House' at XS nightclub at Encore Las Vegas on February 09, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Greg Doherty/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 09: Flavor Flav attends ‘Shaq’s Fun House’ at XS nightclub at Encore Las Vegas on February 09, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images

The last Boston Red Sox stud to join the Yankees and change his look was star outfielder Johnny Damon, who went from looking like a caveman in Beantown to a polished gentleman in the Bronx.

But if you’re going to force a guy like Damon to change his entire look for the sake of “order and discipline,” be consistent across the board. The word uniform literally means “the same in all cases and at all times.”

DENVER, CO – JULY 2: Right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers sports a gold chain during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 2, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Verdugo’s chains represent a direct break from that standard. God forbid we ask a young man not to wear a jarringly massive set of bijouterie around his neck.