CHICAGO – Walk outside the clubhouse and the White Sox are bound to get some strange looks.
But in the thick of a tight playoff race, the Sox are all about having fun. Inspired by third baseman Kevin Youkilis, the Sox are trying out a new look – mustaches. At least eight players are rocking ’staches, including first baseman Paul Konerko and designated hitter Adam Dunn. One glance at the mirror and Dunn feels like he’s “a character from ‘Boogie Nights.’ ”
“This is one of his 50 things he wants to do every day,” Dunn said. “But anything [Youkilis] can to do to cover up his face is perfect.”
Asked if his wife or kids are OK with his mustache, Konerko laughed, “Not really.”
“This time of year you kind of have to have some goofiness to get through it,” Konerko said. “It becomes a grind.”
Youkilis originally came up with the idea last month and his teammates jumped on board once he adopted the new look after the Tigers swept the Sox in Detroit over the weekend.
The mustaches also honor former pitcher and instructor Kevin Hickey, who passed away in May at the age of 56.
While some players willingly shaved their unique and recognizable facial hair, such as reliever Brett Myers cutting his distinguished chin beard, Youkilis hopes more of his teammates join in the fun.
“I’m thinking there’s some guys here who need to step up their game,” Youkilis said. “We got scared guys around here not growing mustaches. We got to get some guys to let loose a little bit. They think they’re really good looking, but they’re not to be honest. Growing the mustaches might actually make them look better. I’m going to throw it out there.”
Between the jokes – on their way to Tuesday’s pre-game batting practice, one Sox player asked a teammate, “I mustache you a question,” eliciting chuckles – and a lighthearted clubhouse, the Sox are finding ways to stay loose amid the pressures of a tight playoff race as they cling to a one-game division lead.
“That stuff’s fun,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They’re just trying to get the coaches to do it. I think it’s more of a player thing. They can have it.
“You have to be able to grow one – a decent one. I’ll have to stay away from that.”
Whether the mustaches become the baseball version of hockey playoff beards, Youkilis isn’t sure. However, the new look has given the Sox something else to talk about and an opportunity to take their mind off the battle for a playoff spot, one that should come down to the final week of the regular season.
“Well, if something works, you’re not going to be against it,” Youkilis said. “I guess it’s technically a superstition. It got us a win [Monday] night, so hopefully it’ll get us a bunch more wins. Twenty-eight more games left, hopefully we win them.”