Washington Nationals’ pitcher Gio Gonzalez is now making a paycheck in the manliest and easiest way humanly imaginable.
According to the Washington Post, the Wahl Clipper Corporation will be sponsoring Gonzalez for his beard. This is believed to be the first time ever that an athlete has had the rights to his facial hair bought out.
As part of the agreement, Gonzalez must keep his bristle neat and tidy. Also, any time he makes it a reference to it, he must preface by remarking “sponsored by Wahl” or “brought to you by Wahl.”
I’m not sure why the hell any respectable baseball player would ever directly mention his beard when talking to the press about his on-the-field performance, but apparently Gonzalez is no stranger to working certain phrases into interviews. Ridiculous beards are trendy in baseball, which I’m a big fan of, as it consistently provides a much-needed sense of energy and personality to the oft-dry sport.
In addition to being trendy, having a culture of facial hair in the clubhouse has often hinted at success. The 2013 post-marathon tragedy Boston Red Sox rode their way to a World Series on glorious beards across the board, and ignited by closer Brian Wilson’s wacky dyed goatee in 2010, the San Francisco Giants have utilized the fad to three World Series championships in the past five seasons.
All of this is part of a ploy to garner attention to the Wahl brand, which also includes rankings of the “most facial hair friendly” cities in the country. In a release from Wahl, they mentioned how significant baseball can play a role in facial hair prominence, making a bad MLB pun in the process:
While general popularity of facial hair helped dictate the results of the study, notable facial-hair-related events contributed to the rankings. In L.A., the male celebrity scene continues to support the anti-clean-shaven lifestyle, keeping the City of Bearded Angels at the number two spot. Third-ranked Seattle jumped five spots, raising questions about a possible Grunge revival, while newcomer San Francisco made a ‘Giant’ leap from 29th to 4th thanks in large part to a plethora of baseball beards and some post-season magic last fall.
All jabs at Wahl’s poor joke-making skills aside, I’m a fan of this tactic. It seems to be of similar tongue-in-cheek good humor to Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” marketing campaign, and there’s no good reason shoe companies should be doing all of the athlete sponsoring anyways, right?
I unfortunately come from a bloodline of pasty-skinned Irish and southern British heritage, so I can literally only dream of having facial hair remotely resembling this stud’s. But when I do have to buy something to rid of my glorified puberty ‘stache, I’ll now be sure to give Wahl a special consideration..
[via Washington Post]