I have a deep appreciation for any pro athlete who would so something as drastic as shave their head, largely for two reasons: 1) It can show a certain belief in the unknown forces of nature, as in, “Maybe this will help me hit better”; 2) Every time somebody shaves their head, that’s one more guy with less hair than me.
Eric Hinske, mired in a 1-for-21 slump, shaved his head before Thursday’s game against San Francisco. He said he did it
because of the blazing summer heat, not the slump. But given that he then went out and hit the game-winning home run in the Braves’ 3-2 victory at Turner Field, this could start a trend.
“We’ve got a lot of guys in here who are bald because they don’t have a choice,” said Brooks Conrad, who’s one of them. “Hinske went with our look and it worked good for him. He looked mean before and now he looks twice as mean.”
Conrad, Tim Hudson, Jonny Venters, Terry Pendleton, Brian Snitker and now Hinske — it’s a fairly significant roster of globey heads.
“I think Mac [Brian McCann] needs to do it next,” said pitcher Kris Medlen. “He’s got that spot up there and he’s kind of in denial.”
Maybe Troy Glaus should shave his head. Kenshin Kawakami? Nate McLouth? I guess it’s too late for Mike Hampton.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a month — it’s so hot here,” said Hinske. “I kind of went a little closer than I wanted to.”
“No, I usually do it every year in the summer. Today we kind of shaved the Mohawk in first to see if it would look cool, and it didn’t look cool. So I took it all down.”
True. Hinske, who celebrated his 33rd birthday Thursday, had Medlen give him the Mohawk. But he kept it only for batting practice and a team meeting.
“Then he shaved it off himself — it was kind of a slap in the face,” Medlen joked.
(Medlen snapped a picture of the Mohawk on his camera phone but he declined to email it to me so I could share it with you in the blogosphere.)
Hinske’s said when manager Bobby Cox saw the Mohawk in the team meeting, “he said ‘happy birthday’ to me and ‘nice haircut.’ Then I went back in and shaved it off.”
And really, he said, it was just about the heat: “It’s a whole different animal here. It’s unbelievable how hot it is. You have to drink a lot of water, you have to take care of yourself, you have to sleep. It’s hot here. I don’t know why it’s so hot. It’s just so hot.”
Yes, it’s hot. But cue the mojo …
Hinske started his third straight game at first base for Glaus, although he hadn’t been hitting much better than Glaus. Hinske’s average at the end of May: .329. But he hit .260 in June, .212 in July and began August 0-for-9.
As he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning, he was 0-for-2 on the night and 1-for-21 over eight games. Then he drove a 2-1 change-up from Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum over the right-center field wall, breaking a 2-2 tie.
“If it works, I’m sure others will do it, too,” Pendleton said.
Must be the head.
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