There are beards, and then there’s Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta’s beard. In a league of its own, the facial hair of the reigning Cy Young Award winner and now World Series champion is the stuff of legends.
With the end of the baseball season, Arrieta decided to make a big change. He shaved his beard.
In a photo posted to Twitter on Sunday by Kristina Lackey, the wife of Cubs pitcher John Lackey, the Arrieta and Lackey families are gathered in front of a plane.
Captioned “Goodbye Chicago, you've been amazing.....Austin here we come for you!!!” the picture is an innocent enough way to bid farewell to the city and kick off the offseason.
But as plenty of responses indicated, that was hardly the main focus. Though Arrieta shaved at the end of the 2015 season, the change was no less shocking to fans who made their shock known.
One even went so far as to post a close-up of just Arrieta’s hairless face on Instagram.
No matter how jarring it may be, Cubs fans can take solace in the fact that they had nearly a full month more of the beard this year than last. Besides, as Arrieta’s wife told those who worried last year:
The Cubs report to Mesa, Arizona, for spring training in February, so that gives Arrieta plenty of time to grow the beard back before next season.