The beards are coming! The beards are coming!
They may not be as ominous as the British but the Boston Red Sox are in town for the American League Championship Series.
And so are their beards.
Watching the first two games in Boston, Tigers fans were flummoxed by the hirsute team they were rooting against.
What’s with the Red Sox and their beards? they asked on social media. Are they rabid fans of “Duck Dynasty?” Are the beards for warmth during the cold New England winter?
“I was wondering that,” said Kevin Murphy, 36, of Huntington Woods. “Don’t they have a razor?”
The origin of this wealth of whiskers turns out to be pretty mundane.
Outfielder Jonny Gomes showed up for spring training with a mountainous beard. A teammate liked it and followed suit, as did a third. In the media, this is called a trend.
Now most of the Bosox players have one, each more unruly than the next. The players say it’s the most visible symbol of team unity.
Pete Valles said it’s nuts.
“What is this, ‘Duck Dynasty?’ ” the Farmington Hills resident asked outside Comerica Park on Monday. “It’s a joke.”
To be fair, Valles is a Tigers fan and had just watched his team blow a five-run lead to the Red Sox the night before.
Whether one likes them or not, all that facial hair seems like a force of nature.
They range from the scraggly (Game 2 pitcher Clay Buchholz) to the close-cropped (designated hitter David Ortiz) to the positively sublime (first baseman Mike Napoli).
Napoli’s beard is so thick it might be hiding Austin Jackson’s bat.
The beards draw a lot of attention when the Red Sox play a new team, and such is the case for the series with the Tigers.
In fact, with the teams fighting for the American League pennant, the Red Sox are being noticed even by casual fans in Metro Detroit.
Facebook and other social media websites were festooned with comments about the ballplayers’ appearances.
“He looks homeless,” Lauren O’Connor wrote on Facebook about Buchholz and his wimpy whiskers.
The Detroit News corralled fans at Comerica Park on Monday and showed them photos of the Red Sox in all their hirsuteness.
Asked which beards they like the best, most fans, bless their hearts, hated them all.
“Embarrassing,” said Steve Grady, 54, of Wyandotte. “They should do themselves a favor and shave.”
Was there one he hated the least?
Maybe David Ortiz, he said about the Red Sox slugger.
That was quite an admission given Ortiz had hit a grand slam against the Tigers in Game 2, tying the game. The Red Sox won it in the bottom of the ninth inning, tying the series at one game apiece.
This is the second playoff team with fanciful facial hair to face the Tigers. In the American League Division Series, several Oakland A’s sported beards that seemed straight from a western.
Many Tigers fans said they like their players clean-shaven.
That’s the way it was in sports for decades, and the way it remains for most Tigers.
More so than other sports, baseball is mindful of its appearance. The New York Yankees have had a longtime rule forbidding any type of facial hair.
Murphy said he likes the way Miguel Cabrera looks.
And he especially likes the way the Tiger looks while circling the bases on a home run.