Surprise, Arizona - Pitchers and catchers arriving to Kansas City Royals spring training were stunned when reporters told them that the respected BEARD projection system predicted significantly worse facial hair results for the Royals in 2016 despite Kansas City's Espy win in the 'Best Mustachio'd Team in Sports' category last year.
BEARD looks at a number of factors, including pure hair growing talent, style, color, and cleanliness, properly regressed with data over the last three seasons. This year, BEARD predicts only 54 follicle combinatoriality quotients, FCQ for short, compared to the 3,408 Kansas City sprouted last year. This is the 36th consecutive year that BEARD has predicted a FCQ lower than the Royals' resultant FCQ.
"Wait, 54 FCQ? That low?" asked an exasperated Danny Duffy as he stroked his impeccably trimmed handlebar mustache with grim determination. "That's pathetic. I guess those beard scientists should try actually growing a beard instead of performing differential calculus on individual nose hairs to predict stuff."
According to the National Observatory of Omnidirectional Beardage, the not-for-profit organization which runs the BEARD projection systems, the Royals have lost a few key players in the face fuzz department. "Yeah," said representative Richard Glasscock, "Kansas City lost a couple big faces to free agency. Ben Zobrist and Greg Holland, two excellent beardchievers, are no longer on the team. Neither is Johnny Cueto, whose shimmying goatee will not make any more appearances for the Royals."
When asked if the BEARD projections could possibly be wrong, Glasscock guffawed and gloated about its greatness. "BEARD is the best system there is. Sure, I guess you could use your gut, but your gut isn't where your beard grows. Your head is where your beard grows. We use our heads to come up with these calculations. You do the math."
Duffy wasn't the only Royal miffed at the projections. Kendrys Morales was unhappy with the prediction, and vowed to trim his beard, which last year already featured sharp corners and stiff lines, to include a cavalcade of interlocking pyramids. Luke Hochevar, who had forgotten to shave all winter due to his intense workout regiment, gave a baseball to a pair of children that mistook him for Santa Claus. Curiously, when informed of the projections Wade Davis just stared forwards, eyes glazed, and his beard grew on the spot to form into a perfect windmill.
Ned Yost, sadly unable to grow a legitimate beard or mustache, told reporters that he was proud of all the keratin his players were producing. "I'm proud of all the keratin my players are producing," Yost said.
At press time, practice had been delayed due to fascination in a bird that was found in Hochevar's magnificent mane.