By Scott Allen.
When Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for his next start, he’ll do so as the first athlete with a sponsored beard.
Men’s grooming tool manufacturer Wahl announced the unprecedented four-month deal Tuesday at the National Press Club, where Gonzalez received a certificate of achievement for “facial hair excellence,” a T-shirt and a complimentary trim. Wahl also announced Washington, D.C. as the “most facial hair friendly” city in the country.
D.C. ranked 19th on the list of the most facial hair friendly cities last year. According to a press release, the Nationals played a large part in D.C.’s rise to No. 1.
While general popularity of facial hair helped dictate the results of the study, notable facial-hair-related events contributed to the rankings. In L.A., the male celebrity scene continues to support the anti-clean-shaven lifestyle, keeping the City of Bearded Angels at the number two spot. Third-ranked Seattle jumped five spots, raising questions about a possible Grunge revival, while newcomer San Francisco made a ‘Giant’ leap from 29th to 4th thanks in large part to a plethora of baseball beards and some post-season magic last fall.