Apr 29, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland (45) on the bench during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
When I got the email from the Powers That Be that there was a new campaign we were doing, with the theme of "Top Grooming Moments in Team History," the choice of the topic seemed obvious to me.
After all, the Rangers don't have a long history of grooming issues in their past. They didn't have an owner who offered to pay the players to grow mustaches. They didn't have a controversy over whether a new free agent would have to cut his famously unkempt hair. They didn't have a team policy banning facial hair. They didn't have a brief experiment where the team would wear shorts as part of their uniform.
What the Rangers do have, though...is the Dutchstache.
The origins of the Dutchstache are hazy, lost in the mists of time. Some say that it is the result of an appearance by the person attached to the Dutchstache, Derek Holland, on the Ben & Skin show, when he promised to keep it going, and growing, until the Cowboys lost. Those legends suggest that, when Holland started having success, he decided to keep it going even after a loss. Other, more credible historians say that the Dutchstache was brought to Earth straight from heaven by Elijah, who rode a fiery chariot out of the sky and down to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and with a flash of light and the smell of cat breath and fresh cherries, fused it to Holland's upper lip.
We will probably never know the truth about the origins of the Dutchstache...it will be argued over by historians, examined in Ph.D. theses, debated at SABR meetings for decades to come. Similarly, there will be arguments about the deeds and accomplishments of the Dutchstache in its time on Earth...did the Dutchstache, as some have alleged, really save a box of kittens from a burning building? Did it change the tire of an old lady in the middle of the night on 820? Did it hasten the departure of Kim Jong-Il from this veil of tears? Help the Rangers win Game 4 of the World Series? Make possible the Arrested Development movie? Create the Tupac hologram? Appear in a weird weather spot on the local news? Convince the T-Mobile girl to ditch the pink dress for a leather motorcycle outfit?
The legend of the Dutchstache spread for thousands of miles in every direction, inspiring a religious devotion in some. Cargo cults on remote Pacific Islands stopped seeking planes and started seeking Dutchstaches. Other Pacific Islanders proclaimed that John Frum would appear with a Dutchstache. A cult in the Southwestern United States declared that the Dutchstache originated in the UFO that was hidden behind the Hale-Bopp Comet. Groups in Germany proclaimed the Dutchstache the province of Frederick Barbarossa, and took its appearance to be a sign that he was soon to arise from his sleep under Mount Untersberg, when Barbarossa would claim the Dutchstache as his own along with his rightful place as the King of Germany.
This spring, rumors of a sidekick to the Dutchstache began circulating, a hirsute hero known as the Mullet. Like Batman and Robin, the Dutchstache and the Mullet were a dynamic duo, though what they were seeking to accomplish together remained unclear.
Alas, like all great heroes, the Dutchstache and its new sidekick were not to be long for this world. Reports have circulated via that television device that the end for the Dutchstache and the Mullet is nigh. It is the fairer sex that, word has it, is bringing the pair down...a fair maiden who will be taking the hand of Derek Holland in marriage, and who is banishing the Dutchstache and the Mullet in the process.
But its absence will leave in its wake more than just a memory...it will leave a celebrity, a litany of fables, a mythos that will become ubiquitous in its reach. And in a deep, dark moment, when all seems lost, when the chips are down and the odds are against us, when disaster and doom seems imminent, I think the Dutchstache will return, in all its glory, all its might.
The Dutchstache...its not the facial hair we deserve, but the facial hair we need.