Beards throw fashion a curveball;GIANTS STYLEWATCH

October 9, 2010

As a mounting number of Giants fans arrived for the team's final homestand at AT&T Park last week sporting false facial hair in hirsute homage to their squad's unshaven and nearly unhittable bullpen, the crowd's message grew clearer and clearer: Fear the Beards.

Sure, manager Bruce Bochy sports a modest goatee, third baseman Pablo Sandoval keeps his chinstrap beard trim, and a dozen others wear varyingly alarming whisker configurations, but a pair of relievers, Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo, have raised the stakes considerably.

Down the stretch, they have grown face-engulfing thickets. Romo's makes him look like some eighth-inning Viking, though closer Wilson's woodsman beard is ultimately more fearsome and strange.

It's dyed jet black, evoking the Popeye villain Bluto. Wilson has long been a sartorial mess: his soulless soul patch, too-long trousers, the jersey he can't seem to button all the way, a meathead fauxhawk haircut and a pair of flashy orange cleats for which he was fined earlier in the season. Few ballplayers cut very distinguished figures today; most have forgone trim-fitting uniforms and tall socks to stalk about like hulks in formless pajamas.


Yet Wilson appears to be on to something. For all his other fashion miscues, the beard hits just right. He looks mean. He looks confident. He looks committed.

"Where the hell did that crazy beard come from?" you can imagine an opposing hitter thinking as Wilson blows a fastball by him.

Giants fan "since birth" Geoff Garnett, 28, of Pleasanton loves it, too. And he gets the award for best fan sign and T-shirt of the season sorry, "Let Timmy Smoke".

The Giants have been riding the "It's X Inside" slogan all year, at various times using "It's Magic Inside," "It's Panda Inside" and "It's October Inside."

Garnett's sign reads "It's Beard Inside," with a menacing silhouette of Wilson's black beard and Giants cap on an orange background.

Garnett had the idea for the sign during one of the Giants' final games. He came with it the next day. He got on TV. T-shirts quickly followed suit. Now they're on sale for $20 on Garnett's website,, a perfect piece of fan apparel for the playoff run. Provided you're not working a beard of your own.