Is Red Sox Performance Actually Correlated to the State of Pedroia’s Beard?
Short answer: The second baseman better not shave until November.
If you havenâ€™t noticedâ€”and really, why would you have?â€”the Red Sox all have beards. The teamâ€™s magical run, which included clinching a playoff spot Thursday night, has inspired much discussion about the team camaraderie fostered by a joint commitment to facial hair.
In a recent New York Times article, Phil Olsen, the founder and captain of Beard Team USA, took things one step further:Â â€śMy unscientific observation: The Red Soxâ€™ record improves with the length of Dustin Pedroiaâ€™s beard,” he told theÂ Times.Â Guess what? Our highly scientific study of Philâ€™s theory shows that he may be on to something.
The general correlation between Pedroiaâ€™s beard and the Red Soxâ€™s success has been evident to many this year, to say the least. During one of the Red Soxâ€™ most memorable regular seasons, Pedroia is sporting what may be the bushiest beard of his career.
Of course, one year is hardly a large or precise enough sample to make any conclusive determination on whether the length of Pedroiaâ€™s beard positively correlates with Bostonâ€™s standing in the win column. But if Olsenâ€™s claim is true, then the reverseâ€”that the Red Sox are less successful as Pedroiaâ€™s beard diminishesâ€”should also be true.
Can you still remember the collapse of 2011? Oh, you can? Well through the month of August, Pedroia boasted a beard that would have drawn favorable comparisons to his 2013 efforts, but, as the season progressed, and the losses mounted, Pedroia gradually groomed himself until all that remained was a short layer of stubble. In fact, the final time that Pedroia appears close to fully-bearded is on August 31st in a 9-5 victory over the Yankees, improving Bostonâ€™s record 83-52â€”the teamâ€™s high-water mark at 31 games above .500.
From there, however, it was all losses and closer shaves for the Red Sox and Pedroia, who sheared away most of his beardâ€”perhaps in frustrationâ€”as the Sox defaulted on the 2011 season.
Pedroia through the collapse:
In addition to the these dramatic periods of success and failure that have corresponded with periods of great growth and great decline on the part of Pedroiaâ€™s beard, here are other notable instances when the Red Soxâ€™ second baseman has gone beardless to poor result:
- May 6, 2011 Pedroia shaves because his wife yells at him, he says.
Result: The Red Sox lose 9-2 to the Twins that night, part of a three-game losing streak in which the Red Sox are outscored 25-5.
- July 26, 2011 Pedroia shaves his beard in the midst of a 22-game hitting streak.
Result: The Red Sox go 6-5 over their next 11 games, well off their 63-38 pace. Pedroia sure seemed to shave an awful lot during the 2011 seasonâ€¦
- June 24, 2012 In an apparently non-baseball related decision, Pedroia tells reporters, “I’m trying to spice up my love life with my wife, so I shaved my beard, man.”
Result: The Sox lose to Detroit that night, but rebound after an off day to win nine of 10 games. It must be said, however, that the off day allowed Pedroiaâ€™s beard to recover somewhat. It probably also allowed Pedroia and his wifeâ€”well, you get the point.
One winning streak aside, there appears to be ample evidenceâ€”enough to fuel a reasonable conspiracy theory for fans to latch onto, anywayâ€”that in recent years, bad things happen to the Red Sox when Dustin Pedroia shaves his beard. If youâ€™re reading this, Dustin,Â all Red Sox Nation asks is that you keep the beard through September and October. Other temptations will, of course, arise, but with a great beard comes great responsibility.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/09/20/red-sox-performance-actually-correlated-state-pedroias-beard/