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Mike Napoli shaved his beard, is barely recognizable

Mike-Napoli-shaved

Mike Napoli has finally decided to say goodbye to the symbol of the 2014 World Series champion Boston Red Sox. I have followed Napoli pretty closely throughout his career, and if you showed me the photo above without any context I probably couldn’t even tell you who it was.

[Related: Jonny Gomes got World Series tattoo that includes a huge beard]

With the Red Sox in last place and Jonny Gomes in Oakland, now was probably the right time for Napoli to change his look. Good thing he’s not a wanted fugitive, because there is no way the average person would be able to identify him now if he committed the crime while still bearded.

Mike-Napoli-before-after-beard

Even before Napoli signed with Boston and turned growing a massive beard into a team bonding exercise, he always had some sort of facial hair.

Mike-Napoli-Rangers

If Red Sox fans were somehow unaware that it was over at the start of the week, they certainly realize it now.

Photo: Twitter/Red Sox

Mike Napoli on Masahiro Tanaka throwing him fastball ‘what an idiot!’ (Video)

Mike Napoli was the hero of Saturday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game after breaking a 1-1 tie in the 9th with a solo home run to right field to give the Sox a lead in an eventual 2-1 victory.

Mike NapoliNapoli was caught by FOX microphones saying “what an idiot!” repeatedly as he entered the Boston dugout following his home run. Napoli was saying that because he couldn’t believe Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka threw him a fastball instead of his deadly, signature splitter.

After throwing a first-pitch ball to Napoli, he got ahead 1-2 with a slider and splitter that fooled the Red Sox first baseman. He then threw a 1-2 fastball up and away that Napoli lined over the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium.

Napoli talked with FOX’s Ken Rosenthal about his comment that was caught on camera.

“Nothing toward him. I thought he was going to throw me a split in the dirt. He had been getting me out all night on it,” said Napoli.

You better believe that next time Tanaka faces Napoli, he’s just going to be feeding him a steady diet of splitters. No way he ever sees another fastball from Tanaka again.

Mike Napoli stole home plate (Video)

Want to see something you have never seen before and will likely never see again? Boston Red Sox slugger Mike Napoli stole home plate during a win over the Oakland A’s on Sunday afternoon.

A’s starter Tommy Malone caught Red Sox shortstop Jonathan Herrera leaning in the third inning and threw over to first. Napoli was standing on third, so he decided to take off for home when Herrera got caught in a rundown. Nick Punto’s throw home was slightly off line and Napoli made a nifty slide in to score.

Mike-Napoli-steals-home

The Red Sox would later blow a 6-1 lead, but David Ortiz — who else? — hit the eventual game-winning home run in the top of the 10th.

Mike Napoli’s finger dislocated after dive and looked gross

Mike Napoli finger

Mike Napoli left Tuesday’s Boston Red Sox game against the White Sox in Chicago in the ninth inning after dislocating his finger on a head-first dive into second base, and let me tell you, his finger looked pretty gross.

Napoli walked with one out in the inning and was trying to advance to second on a wild pitch and made it safely, though his finger did not. Dustin Pedroia came in to pinch run for him.

Though Napoli dislocated his finger, doctors re-set it and confirmed it was not broken. Scott Lauber says the team has not ruled Napoli out for Wednesday:

The Sox are already without Shane Octoberino and Will Middlebrooks, and Pedroia has a wrist injury. The last thing they need is Napoli out.

If Napoli does miss time, he’ll join Yasiel Puig and Josh Hamilton on the list of stars who have hurt themselves diving into bases this season.

Mike Napoli hit a 460-foot home run off Anibal Sanchez (Video)

Mike Napoli hit a moon shot off Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez during Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday, marking his second home run of the series. Napoli’s home run came in the second and was the first run of the game. Boston added three more runs and went up 4-0 before allowing runs later in the game, but they held on for a 4-3 win.

The distance on Napoli’s homer was estimated at 460 feet, which is a rarity in the playoffs. You don’t see too many home runs in the postseason that are clobbered that badly. You also don’t see too many balls hit that far at Comerica Park at night in October.

Napoli, who is a streaky hitter and can carry a team when he’s hot, has now gone 6-for-12 (.500) with two home runs, two doubles and two RBIs in the last three games. That was after going 2-for-17 (.118) with eight strikeouts in Boston’s first six playoff games. He is definitely getting hot at just the right time.

As for the home run, well that drew tons of praise from his teammates. Catcher David Ross went to the “Bull Durham” line.

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Mike Napoli gets his tan on at Fenway Park

Mike-Napoli-John-Lackey-tanning

The Boston Red Sox are gearing up for Game 1 the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, and by all indications the team is feeling pretty relaxed. That is especially true for Mike Napoli, who enjoyed the beautiful weather in Boston on Friday by sunning himself on the pitcher’s mound at Fenway Park.

WBZ-TV producer Joe Giza first captured the photo you see above, which seems to show Napoli and John Lackey getting a feel for the angle of the sun to figure out where they should spread out their beach towels. Napoli figured it out:

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Rachel Starr gets tickets from Mike Napoli, is escorting in San Francisco

When “adult film” actress Rachel Starr talked about meeting up with Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli after Tuesday’s game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, was it for business or pleasure?

Rachel Starr eros

A few alert tipsters pointed out to LBS that Starr is in San Francisco this week working as an escort. That’s what it says on her Eros.com profile:

Rachel Starr’s first ever tour to San Francisco – available Tuesday, August 20th through Friday, August 23rd – Exclusively thru the contact below. Get in touch via text msg or email now!

So does Napoli get the complimentary service, or does he have to buy his date like everyone else? The slugger hooked Starr up with some tickets for Tuesday’s game, a 3-2 loss to the Giants:

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