This item occurs at the intersection of athlete facial hair and sports-radio transcription. It is peak Bog.
It all stated at NatsFest last weekend, when 106.7 The Fan’s Holden Kushner sat down with Nats reliever Ryan Mattheus, seen below, who confessed that he hasn’t shaved his beard since the day Washington’s 2013 season ended.
“Pure laziness, man,” Mattheus explained. “I keep [the mustache] kind of trimmed, try to keep the crumbs and food out of there. [My girlfriend] was hoping that I’d show up here and one of my bosses – [Mike] Rizzo or someone – would be like, hey, shave your face before you go out there. But that didn’t happen. I kind of hid from them.”
Mattheus further explained that the famously hairy Danny Espinosa had been growing an even more impressive chin covering during the offseason.
“Maybe the best beard going, second to Jayson Werth,” Mattheus said. “Danny had this huge beard, and I come here, and he’s clean-shaven. He totally jumped ship. I thought we were coming to BeardFest, and he totally jumped ship on me.”
Mattheus went on to talk about his new manager, Matt Williams, whom he had only just met for the first time moments before. When lo and behold, who should show up early for his own radio interview but the manager himself. So suddenly the two men — pitcher and skipper — were on air together. Call it the mane event.
“I wish I had a beard like he does,” Williams said. “And hair, for that matter. I can’t [grow facial hair]. It’s like your lawn right now; little patches here and there. It’s brutal. A wintertime lawn. I can’t do it. It doesn’t grow on top of my head, or on my chin.”
Imagine Mike Shanahan describing his personal grooming. Actually, don’t. Anyhow, Williams and Kushner went on to talk about baseball, combing through stories about Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. The host also asked Mattheus — who may have been in shock, get it — to think of a question for his new manager. A few minutes later, the pitcher deployed his razor wit.
“I mean, I guess I should go with — since we’re talking about the beard — what’s the facial hair policy that we’re gonna have coming into spring training?” Mattheus wondered.
“Well, it starts with Werth, for sure,” Williams said. “My thought is to get up there first day and ask everybody to follow their leader … ”
“So we’re all growing beards?” Mattheus asked.
” … follow their manager, and have a face and a head just like mine,” Williams said. “That’s my plan. Sound like a good plan everybody?”
Then Williams got a bit more serious, saying he just wants groomed beards.
“That is not groomed,” Kushner said, pointing to Mattheus’s face.
“It’s kind of tapered, which is really good,” the manager insisted. “It’s kind of tapered. Now Jayson’s a completely different story. That is not tapered. That goes in a million different directions.”
Finally, smooth as the roof of his head, Williams got to his actual answer.
“I don’t care what they have on their face, as long as they show up and they play their fannies off, right?” Williams said. “Because it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a beard or not. Can you throw strikes, can you get a base hit when we need it, can you catch the baseball? That’s what we’re worried about.”
So that’s the full story. Though I probably should have trimmed this a bit.