Brandon Hyde doesn’t care what his players decide to do with their facial hair. If it leads to production on the field, he’s all for a little fun — even if he would decline joining in himself.
The Orioles manager doesn’t mind how the mustache above Adley Rutschman’s top lip looks, though, especially as the rookie catcher’s defense behind the plate excels and his bat continually improves during the first month of his major league career.
The inspiration for that might’ve come from the big screen. After Rutschman watched “Top Gun: Maverick,” he was moved by the facial hair of Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, played by actor Miles Teller.
“I saw the movie, I was like, ‘Ah, I should grow out a mustache,’” said Rutschman, baseball’s top prospect. “It’s something to do.”
The thick ’stache on “Rooster” isn’t perfectly replicated by the 24-year-old Rutschman, however. How long will it stick around?
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“Eh, probably not too long,” Rutschman conceded. “I don’t know if I pull it off that great.”
Rutschman isn’t alone. During the road trip in Kansas City, co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller donned a mustache. Ryan Mountcastle has added a wisp of one, and on the field during batting practice this week, he sang a rendition of “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, the theme song for “Top Gun.”
It’s taking the clubhouse by force.
“I think mustaches are really coming back. It kind of reminds me of my dad in 1982,” Hyde said. “I think if you look around right now, you see a lot more mustaches, and I think that it’s a trend with the young guys. Maybe even the older guys. So if it makes them feel good, I’m all for it. Whatever makes them feel good.”
When asked if he’d consider growing a mustache, Hyde pointed to his bearded face before shooting down the possibility.
“I have not. This is bad already,” Hyde said. “I think to accentuate just above the upper lip I don’t think would be a great look.”
But if it works for Rutschman, that’s all Hyde cares about. No matter the inspiration.