Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MiLB LIFE: The Clubhouse Barber

Every team has one. The resident barber - the player who owns a pair of hair clippers and serves as stylist for the majority of the team. He's a staple in any clubhouse - but the talent level, well, that isn't so reliable. After witnessing far too many comically bad haircuts, I've learned there's a fine line between owning a pair of clippers, and actually knowing how to use them.

I've usually kept my distance from the clubhouse barber chair. Sure, a free haircut's a sweet deal - (although it's expected you give your teammate a little something, ya know, for the effort) - but my hair is on the longer side and I cringed just picturing what the end result may look like after a couple of razor swipes to the skull.

Most of these guys specialize in the few types of haircuts one can achieve with merely a pair of clippers - the fade, the mohawk, or the many different levels of the shaved head, or "wiffle" as I called it as a kid.

But this season, I hit the jackpot. Lacking means of transportation to go get a proper haircut, I spoke to our clubhouse barber about my options. "I could just give you a regular haircut. Trim you up with scissors, if you want." Wait, what?

A regular haircut? Scissors? These usually weren't part of the clubhouse barbershop vocabulary. I was completely thrown off, so much so that I actually made an appointment for the following day. I was impressed by his seemingly broad repertoire. Sure I expected him to absolutely butcher my head - and I was obviously fully prepared to make my way to a local barber shop later in the day to have his failure of an attempt fixed up - but I liked his confidence, and decided to take a chance.

The next day arrived, and into the clubhouse walks Adam Sandler from You Don't Mess with the Zohan. (I don't really expect anyone to get that reference - the only reason I've seen that movie is because it was on TV one night and my clicker was broken. But yes, he's a pretty hardcore hair stylist in the movie.)

He sat me down on a chair in front of the bathroom mirror and plopped his hair-cutting survival kit on the counter. He had it all. A couple different razors and the appropriate clip-ons, a few pairs of scissors, comb, spray bottle, brush, hair dryer, and the item that single-handedly changed my attitude from hesitant to confident - the barber's cape. After he buttoned the cape on me, I was half-expecting him to lather my face up and pull out a single-blade razor. This guy was legit.

I had never gotten a clubhouse haircut before, and suddenly I got an impulse to go with something different - maybe something fun? I started thinking about some haircuts I've seen teammates get in the past - maybe a mohawk, or some cat scratches on the side? If any guy could make it look good it would be this guy, right?

Ten seconds later I came to my senses and realized that I'm home by 2 o'clock everyday and that, although those haircuts are fun on the diamond, for the majority of the day I'd just be a regular person with a ridiculous haircut. Maybe it can be pulled off once you're in the bigs and everyone knows you as a ballplayer, but for now, I'll stick with the boys regular.

I told my barber what I wanted, and twenty minutes later, it looked just as I imagined. I couldn't believe it. The kid was good. He was methodical and professional with each snip. I was thrilled with the result and gave him a few extra bucks out of appreciation. This was the start of a beautiful partnership.

I couldn't help but wonder what a kid like this was doing in Extended Spring Training. I know the catcher in Low A is better than him, but the Low A barber sure isn't. This kid's cutting hair at a Double-A level. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he gets that call.

MiLB LIFE Series
Extended Spring Training

Big League Picture Day
"The Manager Wants to See You"
First Day of Spring Training [Part One]
First Day of Spring Training [Part Two]
Packing for Spring Training
The Dip Police
Do You Have an Agent?
How Long Until You're in the Bigs?
Being a Senior Sign
Universal Big League Dreams
Explaining My Profession to Non-Baseball Minds
Bus Rides
Wasted Hat Collection
Draft Day
Dealing with Heckling Fans
Clubhouse Rules
Drug Testing
Being the New Guy
Fat Camp
My First Call-Up
A Typical Game Day [Part One]
A Typical Game Day [Part Two]
Being the 'K-Man'
A Taste of the Minor League Off-Season
New Helmets Issued, Players Respond: "Are You Joking?"
The Fines of Kangaroo Court
Kangaroo Court


  1. bill murray reference, nicely done.

  2. We had a couple different barbers on my college team and I was one of them. I had the buzzer so anytime someone wanted a buzz I got the call