Michael Kay's beard is distracting Aaron Boone. (Credit: “The Michael Kay Show” on YES Network)

Spring training throws a lot at MLB managers, but they’re generally up to the challenge.

While injury remains a constant worry, Florida and Arizona offer more than just sunshine.

For the New York Yankees under Aaron Boone, it’s also a chance to learn new “faces” – literally. The Bronx Bombers have famously enforced a clean-shaven policy for decades, except for well-groomed mustaches. This longstanding tradition, started by former owner George Steinbrenner in 1976, means new players like Alex Vergduo must ditch their signature facial hair.

Back in New York, others are letting their beards grow out.

Following the Yankees’ 9-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Twins, Aaron Boone spoke to reporters and was surprised by what he saw on TV playing in the background. As The Michael Kay Show aired, Boone couldn’t help but notice that the team’s play-by-play announcer, Michael Kay, had a full beard instead of his usual stubble.

The official TMKS account on Twitter/X got in the fun, confirming that Kay indeed has a beard.

Kay also addressed it on his show on Monday.

“Yes, Aaron, I do,” said Kay. “In the light of this studio, I really look like a mess with this beard. In the new Yankees’ clubhouse, they have one television in the clubhouse that’s dedicated to TMKS. Obviously, Boone’s TV in his manager’s office is on YES.”

In continuing to discuss his beard, Kay said he feels more energetic than his younger years. He also revealed he had considered dyeing it.

A few minutes later, A caller sporting a beard himself chimed in, playfully warning Kay that he might get so accustomed to the new look that returning to his usual, clean-shaven appearance would feel strange. In response, Kay revealed he’s been beardless for an impressive 63 years, making light of his confidence in returning to his trademark look after indulging in a few months with facial hair.

That’s about as much as Kay was willing to talk about his beard.

A caller later complimented Kay on his impressive beard. They then curiously inquired whether the Yankees, known for their longstanding no-facial-hair policy, would enforce it on their play-by-play announcer, Kay, come Opening Day. However, Kay chose to sidestep the question, opting to answer another inquiry from the caller regarding the potential retirement of Alex Rodriguez’s jersey number.

Kay acknowledged and found amusement in the New York Post’s article on Tuesday regarding Boone being distracted by his beard.

However, he declined to comment on whether the Yankees’ facial hair policy would apply to him. However, he clarified that he only intends to maintain the beard for a few months.

[Bryan Hoch on Twitter/X, The New York Post]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.