Bell hopes fresh shave will turn tide
Closer cuts off goatee, promises it will be back by weekend
SAN DIEGO -- The way Heath Bell figured it, something had to change after a miserable stretch where he blew two saves and was charged with losses in three games, the last one coming Tuesday against Arizona.
"I know I didn't need to change anything mechanical, but something had to change," Bell said. "So on the drive home last night [Tuesday] I decided to shave my goatee."
Bell showed up at PETCO Park on Wednesday with a clean-shaven face, the first time he hasn't had a goatee or any kind of facial hair since the 2004 season when he was a pitcher for the Mets.
The decision wasn't exactly warmly embraced at home, though.
Bell's 7-year-old daughter, Jordyn, when presented with a fresh face to kiss Wednesday, shrieked in horror.
"She told me ... 'Dad, beard, go put it back on," Bell said. "She told me she was mad and she was going to go cry. She went into the hallway and pretended to cry."
Bell made the decision to shave in the quiet of the home he and his family are renting in Carmel Valley close to midnight, hours after he allowed a two-run home run to Arizona slugger Mark Reynolds in the ninth inning of a 4-2 loss.
Bell, who has 37 saves in his first season as a full-time closer, has allowed seven earned runs in his past three combined appearances. His ERA has gone from 1.98 on Sept. 11 to 2.90 entering play on Wednesday.
"I've had a couple of bad outings and I was frustrated," Bell said. "Now my chin feels cold."
Bell was having fun with his freshly-shaved face on Wednesday, surprising teammates and staff. He even went as far to draw in a fake mustache before the game.
Have no fear, though, the goatee isn't gone forever, as the complaining Jordyn Bell did Wednesday morning was enough to convince Bell to grow it back. He said he'll have a goatee by the weekend.
"I have no problem growing facial hair," he said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.