Scanning through a lot of comments on articles here at The Good Phight, it seems that many people seem to be down on this team, and quite possibly for good reason. A 71-91 record will do that to a person. Many felt that management wasn’t putting its best foot forward in an attempt to win this season, focusing solely on the development of young, seemingly less talented players.
Well, allow me to inject some positivity into this conversation by focusing on something that has grown through out the year. No, I’m not talking about Jerad Eickhoff’s confidence in his entire repertoire of pitches, nor am I talking about the ego of Odubel Herrera.
I’m talking about Freddy Galvis’ hair.
When fans think of Galvis and the 2016 season, they will focus on the 20 home runs. That’s fair - after all, even Baseball Prospectus’ 90th percentile forecast for Freddy only had him hitting 16 dingers, so his power surge was a great suprise. Followers might even point to the seemingly endless array of defensive gems Galvis produced, some of which might catapult him into Gold Glove conversation. But not me.
No, when I think of Freddy, I will remember the hair.
When he showed up to camp, there was a hint that something magical was beginning.
This is Galvis’ media day picture from Spring Training. See the puff of hair beginning behind his left ear? That was our first hint. We should have known then that he had plans for his head that no one would dare to dream of. How little we were prepared.
Later, it began to take on a life of its own.
Here, at the end of May, the mane is beginning to go untamed. Sure, there is some manicured control, but it’s still far from what we knew Galvis to do from the past.
Now, at this point in our narrative, Galvis had only hit five home runs to go along with a .257/.284/.412 line. Not the best, but anyone who watches Galvis knows he prefers the longball to singles. Perhaps he had decided to go biblical and equate batting strength with length of hair? Who knows, but maybe he figured, the longer his hair was left unkempt, the power would come.
June 29 - well, words can’t describe the greatness that is this look. Sure, it’s wild, but that’s not the word. “Unruly”? No. Perhaps “luscious”? That’s it.
You know what wasn’t luscious? Freddy’s batting line, which at the point this picture was taken, was standing at .226/.257/.363. That’s not good, folks.
Of course, we all know baseball players are superstitious. Wade Boggs and his chicken. Jason Giambi and his choice of undergarments. These are things that help a player get through a 162 game slog. Would Freddy resort to ending his follicular adventures and hoping the shearing would increase his batting prowess? No, thank you.
My friends, this is a man doubling down. This is a man who does not fear you and your silly superstitions!
Cut my hair? HA! I laugh in the face of danger!
Problem is, it was us, the fans, who were laughing at his batting line by the end of July (.232/.262/.358) and were calling for the promotion of J.P. Crawford.
Looking at the line, it is justified. With Crawford possibly able to equal, if not surpass Galvis’ glove, and maybe even be a more productive bat, why not let the chosen one ascend to his rightful place between second and third?
Luckily for us, Crawford’s AAA struggles forced management to maintain the status quo, and we were able to continue to see Freddy and his hair ingenuity. August brought forth his best month of the season with the bat - .253/.306/.527 with six home runs. Not only was he producing with the lumber, his hair had warded off the superstitious ghosts with scissors that tend to haunt baseball clubhouses in the dog days of summer. His hair kept growing and the power kept coming.
Was it an ode to the impending Allen Iverson Hall of Fame induction? The need to control his unwieldy hair? The loss of a bet? Whatever it was, the introduction of the cornrows marked the version of Freddy’s hair that will be seared into our brains for the rest of the offseason. His 20th home run was hit with this look. There is no denying its greatness or the positive affect it had on his ability to hit for power.
So, whenever you think about 2016 and the Phillies, don’t think about the disappointing year from Maikel Franco. Purge from your memories the bullpen’s unsightly performance in the final weeks.
Instead, remember Freddy’s success at the plate. Recall the silky smooth glove he produced night in and night out. But mostly, don’t forget the most important thing Freddy Galvis was able to give to you, the fan.