If it weren't for the name on the back of his jersey,some people might have completely failed to recognize Colorado Rockies firstbaseman Ben Paulsen on Thursday.
Paulsen, who is in his second season in the majors withthe Rockies, has become known for his iconic facial hair, which took the formof a bushy mustache last year.
This year, Paulsen has been sporting a full, robust beardthat would make a lumberjack blush; however, on Thursday, Paulsen showed up toCoors Field cleanly shaven, causing plenty of double takes and inquiries as towhy Paulsen had axed his facial fuzz.
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"I think I got more texts on that than the walk-offI had a couple of months ago," Paulsen said on the reaction to his newcleanly shaved look.
Could it be Paulsen's recent slump that inspired hisbeard exodus?
After all, he shaved his mustache in 2014 after a springtraining slump.
"It was the day I got sent down [to the minors]during spring training," Paulsen recalled. "I coincidentally shavedbecause the mustache didn't have any hits in it in spring training. That waswhen I needed a change for superstition."
However, the 27-year-old first baseman didn't ditch hisfacial hair because of superstition this time. In fact, it was something quitesimple that forced him to debut a new look.
"I tried trimming my beard myself, took too much offthe left side and said, 'Oh, whatever,' and took it all off," Paulsenrevealed. " … This was almost accidental, but I'm OK with it. I don'tthink many people have seen me clean-shaven."
While Paulsen says he's not superstitious, we can onlyimagine that a hitting spree would encourage him to keep the clean-shaven look.
After all, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"has been a superstitious undertone for baseball for as long as the game hasexisted.MLB.com