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SportsCenter goes behind the whiskers for piece on bearded BoSox

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While producer Steve Buckheit has only a self-described “perpetual 5-o’clock shadow,” he was among the first to take advantage of the Boston Red Sox “Dollar Beard Night” promotion last month which allowed fans with real or faux facial fur into Fenway for a buck.

While many carried combs, Buckheit carted his camera to capture the occasion for a piece chronicling the Sox’ return to success scheduled to debut on tonight’s 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter.

“We jumped at the opportunity to shoot during an unprecedented online promotion,” Buckheit said. Or, as the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley wrote: “It was looked on by a lot of media types — and that would include me — as a chintzy promotion, something that should be beneath the dignity of a big-market franchise that routinely pulls in crowds of 30,000 or more. I was wrr . . . wrrrrrr . . . wrong. Fans ate it up.”

The piece, narrated by Chris Connelly is “about this year’s culture on and around the Red Sox team,” Buckheit said. “They’ve gone back to their Dirt Dogs roots in a way, symbolized by their long beards. They have gone from worst to first, yet recently only ‘Dollar Beard Night’ has brought attendance to capacity. Regardless of why the Sox aren’t a nightly sellout any more, the city has gone all in on the team’s beards.”

Connelly said, “Having profiled Jonny Gomes for E:60, I’m not surprised he’s having such an effect on his teammates, I just didn’t expect him to have such an effect on their chins.”

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