Red Sox proving they can win ugly

Originally Published: August 31, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
BOSTON -- Doug Mientkiewicz is hitting .245 with the Red Sox since arriving from Minnesota in late July. He has dinged up his left shoulder, taken some shots at Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and watched Cuba win the Olympic baseball gold medal while wistfully reflecting on the 2000 Sydney Games, when he and Tommy Lasorda were the heroes.

Mientkiewicz also has fended off some unwanted advances -- not from Red Sox groupies, but from overzealous teammates with an Edward Scissorhands fetish.

"We have a lot of free spirits in this clubhouse," Mientkiewicz said. "They do their own thing, that's for sure. I get propositioned to shave my head every day. I keep telling people, 'When Johnny Damon shaves his head, I'll shave my head.' "

Mientkiewicz can look in any direction in the Boston clubhouse and see a Kafka-esque parade of screwballs, wingnuts and fun-loving frat boys who are fixated on hair as a means of self-expression. Many of the Boston players sport three-day biker growths, and while Damon is the team's resident tonsorial renegade, he's hardly alone.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer