Bryce Harper shaved his face before playing the Yankees and the conspiracy theorists went nuts

Bryce Harper's beard is no more. 

The Washington Nationals outfielder showed up to the ballpark with a freshly shaved face on Monday. Normally, a player's facial hair (or lack thereof) wouldn't necessarily be newsworthy, but Harper's beard has become somewhat of calling card for his appearance over the past few years. And, in fairness, it was a pretty damn good beard. (R.I.P.) 

So when the media got a rare glimpse of Harper's bare face on Monday afternoon, it caught plenty of people by surprise and became a news item.

Anytime a person makes a drastic change to their hair, facial hair, or general appearance, it can be tough to process initially. Sometimes we, as a people, are resistant to change, so we often criticize the unfamiliar. 

Luckily for Bryce Harper -- a handsome person -- his face is quite palatable, with or without a beard. The change wasn't met with too much resistance.

As for why Harper made the change, there were two major theories that floated around the Internet streets. The first -- and most obvious -- is that he wanted to make a change to help break out of the current slump he finds himself in. He's hitting under .200 with 49 strikeouts since May. Not great, especially by Harper's standards. 

Baseball players are often a very superstitious breed, so it's possible that Harper thought getting rid of the beard could also rid him of some bad juju and help bring success at the plate.

But, with the Nationals facing off against the Yankees in Washington on Monday, there were plenty of conspiracy theorists who had another explanation: The babyface is a sign that Harper wants to play for New York.

As you may know already, the Yankees have a longstanding club policy prohibiting a significant amount of facial hair. Could it be that Harper, who is in the final year of his contract and has expressed an interest in playing for the Yankees in the past, is showcasing a willingness to play sans beard as an appeal for the Yankees to break out the checkbook and sign him this winter?

It seems a bit farfetched -- not to mention desperate -- but it was a popular train of thought on the Twitter machine. 

We can probably assume that many making the connection are Yankees supporters who will find any reason to place Harper one step closer to playing in pinstripes, but maybe it's something worth considering. (If there's any truth to this line of thinking, it's worth noting that Sean Doolittle still clearly has no interest in playing for the Yankees.)

Or it's quite possible that the weather is getting really hot and Harper wants to let his face breath a little more.

Or maybe it's the Golden Knights' fault for breaking Harper's spirit, leading to the death of his beard.

In any case, it's just a beard. Or it was just a beard. 

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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