It's utterly laughable, though what about the Marlins isn't? The club's ban on facial hair, which they announced over the weekend, is a small thing of course. Preventing a grown man from growing a beard or mustache doesn't actually hurt them. It's not going to make a difference on the field, and probably won't off the field either, except that the Marlins should probably increase the clubhouse budget to buy more razors.
Oh sure, there will be people who support the move. Not everyone appreciates shaggy ballplayers, even in 2016. It allows the Marlins to brand their team as prim and proper, and utterly professional. At least they'll look good on TV, even if they don't on the field.
And really, what this mandate does is give the appearance that the front office in Miami is active. That it gives a damn. That it hasn't consistently and maliciously abdicated its responsibility to be a Major League organization. That it didn't spend the entire offseason making just a single transaction of any consequence, while shopping around to no avail the most promising pitcher in team history and a good looking young center fielder because they had the temerity to offend the owner's delicate sensibilities and incur his wrath. Most importantly, the mandate is meant to remind, in the most petty way possible, the Marlins players who is in charge.
Oh, and who has had facial hair on the Marlins in 2015? Let's see if we can sense a theme:
Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Photo credit: Robert May-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oh, ok. All of the Marlins' best players, except for Christian Yelich, who I'm sure would grow facial hair if he could. Plus, J.T. Realmuto had a soul patch. Michael Dunn had a full beard. Martin Prado had a perpetual 5 o'clock shadow.
Even more than that, ultimately, it's the message that's being sent that's, again, the problem. Not just that the Marlins' management team are a joke, but that they're a joke who can't stop meddling in the lives and careers of their players. Unless you think a beard significantly hinders a player as he runs around the bases or chases a ball in the gap, there's literally no harm to playing with facial hair. This is solely a cosmetic change that infringes on the rights of players off the field to present themselves however they (or their wives and girlfriends) choose.
The Marlins insist on treating like children the men they employ to play baseball. Whether that's banishing them to the minors or trying to trade them once they decide they don't like them, or insisting that they can't be trusted to decide what's appropriate to put on their own faces, Jeffrey Loria, David Samson, and Michael Hill seem determined to make Miami as uninviting an environment to play in as the city itself is as inviting. As reliever Mike Dunn told MLB.com, "Initially, not too many guys were happy about it."
Well, duh. Nobody likes their boss meddling in their home life and insulting their judgment. But beyond a doubt, Jeffrey Loria, and his front office, are meddlers. They have always been meddlers and they will always continue to be meddlers for as long as he owns the team. Players should want to flock to Miami, a warm, beautiful town in a state that has no income tax. Instead, they're looking literally anywhere else, and the "leadership" from Loria, Samson, and Hill is the primary reason why. Three men who think it's more important to put razors to faces and ride hard on their best players than to put a watchable team on the field.
Don't get me wrong. This is a small thing. It's not worth getting angry over. It's just the latest indignity in the prolonged tracicomedy that is the Miami Marlins and a reminder that the club's ownership will never allow it to succeed.