It's Opening Day for the first blockbuster movie of the summer, and what better way to celebrate than to consider some of the finest sideburns in major league baseball. Wolverine, as you know, is big with the burns, which can be better seen on this French advance poster:
Hmm, France got the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine a couple days earlier than we did in the States? Sacre bleu! Call me (sar-)Kozy, but that sounds pretty bizarre to me. At least they can't take our MLBers with the burns, including the Dodgers' own:
Joe Beimel, who was the Dodgers' resident king of sideburns from 2006-2008, picking up a nifty 101 Ks over his time as a resident setup man. Hard feelings over his 2006 playoffs beer accident and bad cover-up incident seemed to dissipate over time, particularly in the 2008 season when he held a 2.02 ERA. Beimel's boffo burns led to the birth of Troy from West Virginia, still one of the most frightening Dodger fans I've seen on YouTube. Beimel is continuing his success with the Nationals this year, holding down a 1.23 ERA--but has only appeared in eight games this year, too. All the time hanging out in the bullpen should give him more time to trim his burns to maximum precision.
Jonathan Broxton now wields not one, but both of the biggest sideburns on the Dodgers' squad. The robust closer casts such a large shadow on the Dodgers' staff (literally), that I confess I missed talking about Big Jon during this initial draft of this post. Luckily, we've got great friends over at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness who wisely informed me of my notable omission. My bad!
Clayton Kershaw seems to be a late entrant vying for the most distinctive sideburns on the Dodger squad--though to be fair, we've seen some different facial hair options from camera-shy Andre Ethier as well this year. It would be daring for a position player to have his whiskers encroach upon the hirsute cheeks of what has become the pitching staff's territory. But hey, the season is still young, so who knows which Dodger will take the sideburn crown?
The Dodgers could always make a trade to bolster their sideburn needs. The early-season slump of Russell Martin shouldn't cause any of us Dodger fans huge alarm (though Martin is precariously near Mendoza territory after Thursday's game), but Joe Mauer of the Twins could always carry the sideburn torch. A .328 hitter last year, Mauer is set to rejoin the Twins in May after being sidelined by inflammation in the right sacroiliac joint--nothing that a couple of mutton chops can't fix!
Dustin Pedroia, MLB09 The Show cover boy, deserves a mention not only because he's pretty a good player, but the fact that he's a good player means that Pedroia's diminutive size does not result in overuse of the cliche "scrappy," a la David Eckstein, for whom the term is used to rationalize effort over statistics.
And finally, Brady Anderson deserves a mention from the veterans committee. He may have been out of baseball for a decade, but his sideburns hearken back to a time when Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling were on Beverly Hills 90210. The first time, that is.
Any others we may have missed?
Kershaw photo: Harry How/Getty Images