10/13/2003 7:25 PM ET
Beantown baldies grow in numbers
Guilt, pride motivate fans to lose the hair for a few wins
BOSTON -- There seemed to be an initial burst of enthusiasm for the movement, what with all the success it brought when it was born. Then came a little lull, followed by another big burst. And now it's full blown.
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
No, not the "Cowboy Up!" phenomenon. That's been a big hit since its inception. This is about the Beantown Baldies.
It started when the A's took a 2-0 lead on the Red Sox in the American League Division Series earlier this month. A number of players shaved their heads in a show of solidarity, a large number of fans followed suit, and the club bounced back with three consecutive wins to advance to the AL Championship Series against the Yankees.
Then reality set in for some. Or rather, the knowledge that winter was about to set in. Solidarity is great and all, but it doesn't keep your dome warm against the often harsh elements that envelop the East Coast in the latter months of the year.
"I didn't do it at first because I work outside, and I didn't want to have to wear a beanie every day of my life," said Danny Linden of Boston. "Nothing against the guys, but sometimes you have to be a little selfish."
And sometimes you have to reevaluate. That's exactly what Linden did when the Sox lost Game 2 of the ALCS. When free head shearings were offered in the right-field pavilion at Fenway Park before Game 3, Linden got in line.
"Had to do it," he said Monday before Game 4. "If I don't do it and they lose this series, I'd have been wondering if it was my fault somehow."
Guilt is a powerful motivator, apparently.
"Definitely," said Teri Daniels, whose husband, Ricky, has joined the shorn masses. "I told him, 'If you don't do it and they lose, I'll shave your head when you're asleep, anyway. So you might as well do it when you have some control.' "
Harold Little -- no relation to Red Sox manager Grady Little, a 73 year old who also shaved his head but not to the close-cropped degree of his players -- didn't have much control, either. Asked if his gleaming bean was his way of supporting the Sox, he smiled at his wife, Gwen, who laughed at the suggestion.
"Tell the truth, Harold," she said.
So he did.
"This, my friend, is not my choice," he said, leaning forward to expose his naturally bald noggin. "It's my life."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.