Team Puerto Rico Triggers Hair Dye Shortage, Seriously

A funny team-building exercise has left Puerto Ricans scrambling to dye their hair blonde

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Mar 22, 2017 at 12:17 PM ET

On Sunday night, Puerto Rico topped the Netherlands 3-2 in extra innings when Eddie Rosario lofted a juuuust deep enough sacrifice fly to send Carlos Correa scampering home with the game-winning run. The victory advanced the team into the finals of the World Baseball Classic and players and fans alike were happy as all get out.

Look at all that rollicking, joyous good-timery! Maybe if Major League Baseball allowed players to let their hair down instead of falling back on some hoary code about Playing The Right Way, they’d be able to attract the prized younger demographic it’s desperately seeking. Or Commissioner Rob Manfred could add a few more pages to the rulebook in an inept attempt to shave a few minutes off the total game time. I dunno.

But c’mon, just look at this. This is fun!

Speaking of hair, pretty much the entire Puerto Rico squad dyed their locks blonde, or, in the case of chrome-domed first base coach Carlos Delgado, his goatee. Scoff at silly team-bonding exercises and/or a hint of superstition all you like, but again, fun. According to the players, it’s not only helping them win, the Simon Phoenix look has caught on back in Puerto Rico

“What started as a joke has become a national thing,” Enrique Hernandez, a utility infielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers who’s hitting .333 in the WBC, told ESPN. “There is a big part of the island dyeing their hair, believe it or not. One of my mom’s good friend’s sister went to the pharmacy to dye her hair but there was no hair color or bleach to be found in the pharmacy. That tells you how much everybody is believing in this.”

Yeah, they are. The Associated Press spoke to a shopkeeper in San Juan who said that hair dye is flying off the shelves.

“Ever since they began winning, this has not stopped,” said Myrna Rios, a manager at a Sally Beauty Supply store in the capital of San Juan. “We have run out of the product in most of our stores.”

Copper blond, platinum blond, golden blond – all shades of blond (even burnt orange) are turning heads in a U.S. territory where the majority of men have thick, dark hair and are now getting teased about looking like Ken dolls. Those who are bald have opted to dye their beards or goatees in a nod to Puerto Rico coach Carlos Delgado.

And if it means some light mockery and actual physical pain, so be it. Christian Rodriguez told the Associated Press that he first painted his beard blonde like Delgado, though it took trips to four pharmacies before he located a store that still had hair dye in stock. The hair on his head retained its natural color until he showed up at church and saw six other newly blonde-haired worshippers and decided to take the plunge.

Rodriguez complained of an intense burning sensation during the two-hour process and sent pictures to his wife, who responded with the emoticon of a monkey with its eyes covered.

“Anything for my island!” he said as he lifted his arm to cheer the team.

Rodriguez then sent a picture of his dyed hair to his mechanic, who responded with a selfie taken underneath a car of him smiling with a bleached beard.

As the Associated Press notes, Puerto Ricans are getting giddy over the team’s success, going blonde, and shouting “Team Rubio!” (Team Blonde in Spanish) right as the island faces a series of potentially devastating austerity measures imposed by the U.S. Federal government, including major cuts to pensions and public education in an attempt to reduce the current $7 billion deficit and a public debt that has mounted to $70 billion.

When implemented as actual economic policy and not dismissed as some fever dream cooked up by the International Monetary Fund, austerity measures always fail. So maybe the best thing to do is to laugh at Carlos Beltran, knowing he’s in on the joke, and root like hell for Puerto Rico tonight when they take on the United States.

Facile political metaphors notwithstanding, Puerto Rico could use a good diversion—in the best sense of the word—right now.