JUPITER, Fla. — For the first time in his major league career, Don Mattingly’s team has a policy of no facial hair.
And as the Miami Marlins‘ new manager, he’s the one enforcing the rule.
The Marlins allowed players to have beards the past two years, but that changed under an organizational policy adopted after Mattingly was hired.
"Initially not too many guys were happy about it," said reliever Mike Dunn, who shaved off his goatee before reporting to spring training. "You can fight it, or you don’t. Obviously I shaved, so it’s OK."
Mattingly said he didn’t care whether players were allowed to have beards, goatees or moustaches, but supported the new rule.
"Guys will whine," Mattingly said Sunday. "Some guys like it, some guys won’t. As long as we’re consistent, I think it’s not that big of a deal."
But it’s new for Mattingly. The Dodgers allowed facial hair when Mattingly was their manager for five seasons, and he wore a moustache when he was an All-Star first baseman for the Yankees.
In 1991 he was benched for refusing to cut his hair, and says his complaint was that the rule was not being enforced equitably among everyone on the Yankees.
"It wasn’t really that complicated," he said.
Many Marlins sported facial hair last season. Among the players who have had to give up their beard is 23-year-old ace Jose Fernandez, who shaved after he reported to camp.
"I’m afraid I’m going to look 16," he said with a smile. "But it’s not a big deal. Whatever the rules are, we’re going to follow them."
By changing their look, perhaps the Marlins will change their luck. They haven’t had a winning season since 2009.