John Axford’s 2013 Problem


Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals recently acquired a new player from the Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford.

If you think back to 2011, you might remember him as a very good pitcher and a lights out closer. He’s struggled this season, however, and many are puzzled by exactly why he isn’t the great pitcher he once was.

But take a look at that picture above. Do you see anything different from the terrifying vision he once imposed? Something missing, maybe? If not, let me help you out by showing you a picture from 2011, his most dominant season.

2011 John Axford:

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Do you see the difference yet? No? Ok, well let me spell it out for you.

It’s his nasty (in the best possible way) ‘stache. Anyone with the confidence to rock that sort of facial hair has no fear. It doesn’t matter if you have to face the best hitters in baseball; you know they can’t hit you because they’re too amazed by your incredible ‘stache.

Clearly, somewhere along the line, Axford lost the confidence necessary to wear that level of facial hair. When that happened, he lost the confidence necessary to be an incredible major league pitcher.

This means that Yadier Molina and Derek Lilliquist have a job to do, and it has nothing to do with reminding Axford how to pitch.

It has everything to do with getting him to grow back his incredible ‘stache. When he does, I promise that he will return to his 2011 form and retire foe after foe after foe.