hair and hairball-like play

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

If it’s time to start voting for the All Star game, does that mean it’s also deep enough in the season to start panicking properly? I think so. I think you can’t really have the one without the other, logically speaking.

There were lots of points where the Tigers could have won this game. But that would have involved hitting Scott Kazmir, like, at all (the two runs counted against him were both inherited runners that the bullpen brought home), and we all know that the 2010 Detroit Tigers do not believe that starting pitching should be hit. I don’t really understand this, unless it’s a hopeful do-unto-others sort of thing, where the Tigers are hoping that their refusal to hit balls thrown by starting pitchers will cause other teams to refrain from hitting Tigers starting pitching. It’s not working, though, so the offense should feel free to stop this strategy at any time.

Really. Any time now.

Sooo…. I tried to write something about FredFred’s performance several times here, and it’s not going to happen. Sorry. Every time I make an effort it just turns into capslocked screaming about doom and disaster and sophomore slump cliches and nobody needs to read that. FredFred doesn’t need it, you lot don’t need it, and I need to reject it. Let’s talk about HAIR.

Tigers Hair has been much in the news lately, first because of Phil Coke’s hair-related teasing and subsequent haircut, now because bearded hero Alex Avila has given Traitor Damon a mohawk, thus adding to the fine diversity of hair styles on the team. For your convenience I have briefly illustrated the subject at the top of this entry.

As any good lazy cartoonist would tell you, distinctive hair and facial hair styles are fantastic. They make life easier on everyone: the drawing process is easier, and it’s easier for those looking at the drawing to quickly tell who is who. They display personality and help a guy stand out when he’s lumped into a league with hundreds of other guys who are mostly going to be around his size, more or less around his age, and, like him, will have a fondness for country and rap music, and a complete inability to dress themselves. With a buzzcut you’re just that cretin at the bar in the Ed Hardy shirt. But a Phil Coke mullet takes it to a whole other (terrifying, yet intriguing) place.

Not everyone can do crazy/intense hair. Jeremy Bonderman, for instance, looks weird as hell with hair and should remain bald for all his days. I fear that longer hair would completely overwhelm Brandon Inge’s small frame (luckily he has found a facial hair configuration unlikely to be copied by very many people, as it is uniquely awful). But Justin Verlander, say, is one good haircut-less month away from powerful emo hair. I’m not saying it would be good-good, but it would definitely be weird and harmlessly trainwrecky and interesting, and that’s what I want out of my ballplayers.

Traitor Damon, of course, is already familiar with wacky hair. In fact it’s part of why so many people knew who he was and gave a flying rat pellet about him when he was with Boston: the hair (and beard) made him recognizable and distinctive. People noticed him more. He got a few nicknames and a reputation and a book deal. Not bad.

Then he went to New York, where the law decrees that hair shall not descend past the jaw and facial hair shall be restricted to the upper lip only. Yankee management doesn’t trust its bevy of overpaid, undermatured manchildren to make good (or any) decisions on their own, you see, so they do everything they can to reduce the number of decisions a ballplayer is allowed to make. Traitor Damon bought into that, in a fit of Boras-induced greed. He cut his hair. He started looking boring again.

Now he’s on the Tigers, where hair is allowed to roam free; where Jim Leyland will not hesitate to say that he thinks your hair looks terrible, but he will defend to the death your right to wear it in whatever terrible way you want (as he did with Magglio, back in those glory days). I did think Damon was going to let his hair grow out again, but for now he has gone with the mohawk. It’s weird but not too weird– there are other guys in the majors who have fauxhawks and mohawks to varying degrees– and it helps him bond with the rookie catcher as a sort of simian group grooming experience.

It’s good. It’s what we want to see from the team. More of this sort of thing.


The Tigers are playing .500 ball at the moment… and are still second in the division. Thank you AL Central. Any other AL division right now, they would be fourth at best. As it’s getting to be ASG voting time, I am starting to be concerned. Things aren’t clicking. Starters we were relying on aren’t coming through often enough; stranding men on base has become a hobby. If the Tigers end up doing well on the season, it will be because of their weak division.

Random thought from this game that fits nowhere and thus is tacked on here at the end: Scot Shields, Garret Anderson, and Mat Latos should all be on the same team. Just to screw with the local reporters and editors. Make it happen, MLB.


9 responses to “hair and hairball-like play

  1. Justin Verlander, say, is one good haircut-less month away from powerful emo hair.

    I cold deal with the emo hair, but for the sake of all that is feline, please, stop that emo pitching!

  2. Jeremy Bonderman looks weird even with short hair. I find it to be TOO short. He looks like a newborn hamster.

    He needs a happy middle.

    LOVE the hair drawings, Samara!

  3. The hair Olde English D kinda freaks me out. Not sure why, but it does.

    I love that you included Dombrowski, though. His hair IS impressive, it doesn’t get enough love.

    Ummm right the actual post. Isn’t the Yankee policy towards hair something the union should take up arms against? I feel like it’s an insult to players and way over-controlling (can’t make your own decisions, affects their life off the field during the season), for something that has no impact on their playing (unlike, say, asking players to not drink or smoke or whatever). Just seems like something the union would hate. Maybe they try to pick their battles, though.

    Stupid Yankees.

  4. I do enjoy Everett’s hair. Kinda shaggy.

    I think the whole team should grow their hair out and go playoff hockey style. Just saying.

  5. “simian group grooming experience” – oh man. What a mental image. If the on-field experience continues like this much longer, we may need to see that cartoon.

  6. I can’t be the only person thinking that if Magglio grew his beautiful hair back he’d hit more home runs. Right?

    Also, the love for Alex Avila I have had since he was a wee little tyke playing for the Whitecaps continues unabated, despite his apparent inability to hit the ball this week.

  7. That mohawk that Avila gave to Johnny Damon is pretty neat. I see you have Mr. Dombrowski with his famous striped collared shirt and nice hairstyle :-P

  8. David O. (13194013)

    Every time someone mentions hair I think of Magglio’s formerly beautiful locks.

    I… I can’t handle it. I miss that magnificent hair.

  9. rea, maybe the hair could replace the pitching style? Something for Justin to consider.

    Jules, lol @ ‘newborn hamster’. I’m not sure WHAT hair configuration would look good on Bondo… I think my most comfortable mental image of him is just without the hair. To preserve the perfect egginess of his head, you know…

    FrogMan, ha ha, sorry. Hairpril in the D!

    And yeah, I would guess the Yankees could just bombard the union with all sorts of excuses about representing the team and professionalism and whatnot; it would be hard to make a solid argument against the policy unless a Yankee had, say, a religious reason for having a beard or longer hair. So far as I know this hasn’t come up yet, but if it does in the future, things could get interesting.

    gilbekat, it’s usually just sort of long and flowing and shampoo-commercial-y in a way that most baseball player hair isn’t. I kinda drew him with hat hair up there, though.

    Less, you know, like monkeys use communal grooming to bond into family and troops units, so too do ballplayers groom each other to help create a cohesive team unit! Also to get rid of lice and ticks.

    Brenna, oh no, I should think it’s obvious that I, at least, hold that opinion as well. ;) Magglio regrowing his hair= more happiness in the world, in many different ways.

    And I’m not too worried about Avila, he’ll be fine. I expect there’ll be all sorts of streakiness this year as the league adjusts to him and he adjusts back, but ultimately he’ll be ok.

    Lauren, but of course. I have to represent Mr. Dombrowski as we know him!

    David O, me too. Me too. :/

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