Sal Fasano, the journeyman catcher whose facial hair promted the formation of one of the most passionate fan groups ever, Sal’s Pals, is back in the bigs.
The Indians acquired Fasano from the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later. The Indians needed a catcher after the club lost starter Victor Martinez, who is out six to eighth weeks following right elbow surgery on June 13.
What can the Indians expect from Fasano? That depends entirely on which Fasano shows up.
Will the Indians get the fu manchu’d Fasano, the version that fans in Philadelphia and Toronto grew to love? If so, expect fireworks and rioting in the streets.
Will Fasano show up with a mustache similar to the one he donned as a member of the New York Yankees? There’s nothing wrong with a good mustache, as Jason Giambi has clearly demonstrated this season. But Fasano’s stache was just a toned down version of his fu manchu. It was like watching Sex and the City reruns on TBS. You still get the jokes and the plot, but even if you haven’t seen that particular episode before, you know you’re missing something (ie., the cursing and the sex).
Or, will Fasano arrive clean-shaven, like he did in Baltimore? I saw Sal during spring training last year. He was training with the Blue Jays and had shaved his face and nothing, and I mean nothing, is sadder than a clean-shaven Fasano.
Just like Sampson got his power from his hair and Papi gets his power from mango salsa, everyone knows Fasano’s strength lies in his whiskers. Hopefully, after 11 years in professional baseball, Fasano has learned that lesson. The fate of the Indians’ season lies in the balance.