BOSTON - Johnny Damon plans to lose the caveman look for charity. The Red Sox center fielder said Monday he’ll shave the black beard he’s had since the offseason to benefit the Boston public libraries’ reading and tutoring programs for youngsters.
The Gillette Co., based in Boston, will provide the funds for the programs, Damon said before the Red Sox played Cleveland. A call seeking comment from Gillette was not returned Monday.
“Gillette told me to pick out an organization” to help, said Damon, who believes his shaving will take place May 21. He plans to keep his shoulder-length black hair.
“Gillette’s the leading shaving brand anyway, so they’re not too concerned” about providing funds for the programs, Damon said. “They don’t have to do this but they want to.”
Damon said he’s not getting paid for his participation.
The reading program is geared to making sure students can read by the time they’re in third grade, he said. Money also will go to a program for students to go to public libraries for help with homework.
Damon was thinking of getting rid of the beard anyway.
“It’s starting to get hot,” he said. “It’s looking sloppy. I can always grow it back in two weeks.”
Damon reported to spring training in February with long hair that he hadn’t cut for more than a year. He also had the beard, which he has trimmed since then.
When he arrived in Fort Myers, Fla., Damon talked about his unusual after-dark training regime: racing cars on the Orlando street where he lives, which has a 25 mph speed limit.
“Once a car starts coming, I’ll just race it to my house,” he said. “I scare the cars to speed up a little more, seeing a caveman-looking guy with long hair running at 10 or 11 at night.”
Might his next shaving experience lead to commercials for Gillette?
“Hopefully, there’s future things with them,” Damon said. “It would be nice.”