After the Phillies beat the Royals on Sunday, July 3, beat writer Todd Zolecki posted this tantalizing tweet.
The Phillies found black cowboy hats in their lockers postgame. Carlos Ruiz purchased them. They're all wearing them to Colorado.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 3, 2016
That sounds like a very random, yet Chooch-y thing to do. And I didn’t doubt that everyone would wear them. It’s kooky, fun, and one of the team’s elder statesmen asked them to do it. I’m not even on the team and I’d wear a cowboy hat if Chooch asked me to.
But I needed pictures. I wanted to see everyone wearing the hats. Especially after listening to yesterday’s radio broadcast, which featured more than a few mentions of the cowboy boots and belt buckles that everyone was bringing to wear on the plane ride. Scott Franzke even said that Pete Mackanin relaxed the travel dress code for one day so everyone could wear jeans. I had to see this. But aside from sneaking onto the plane with my camera and a clever disguise (don’t think I didn’t consider it), I had to wait for someone to actually post photos.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long.
YAY. This is the best. But as always, I have a few questions. Let’s examine the pictures individually, shall we?
Okay, first things first. Someone needs to tell Edubray Ramos (second from the left) that he has to stop giving the thumbs-up in photos immediately. This is non-negotiable. You’re a grown-up baseball player, not the pitchman for Flex Seal. Look at Odubel Herrera next to him. He was either surprised by the photo or he’s not very comfortable, but check out his right hand. It looks like he’s suppressing his thumbs-up urge. Learn from him, Edubray!
Over on the other side of the pic, check out Cesar Hernandez’s ultra sharp blazer! I don’t care if he borrowed it from Jack Nicklaus in the 70s, I love it. And next to him, Freddy Galvis seems to be trying to pull off some kind of Johnny Cash/Man in Black look, which would be more successful were it not for that ever-present goofy/adorable smile.
And then there’s Chooch in the middle, with his jeans, blazer, boots, and shades, looking like the godfather of this gang. He could be taking a “Look what I made everybody do!” victory lap, but no. He’s standing there, thumbs hooked in the pockets of his jeans, looking like he owns the place. It’s like he’s saying “Yes, I made everybody do this, but it’s because I’m so cool, and doesn’t everyone look cool now?” Chooch and the gang look like they’re about to head out to an ultra rad bachelor party where there will be large steaks and expensive tequila and cigars and also snakes for some reason.
In this one, we’ve got (from left to right) Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Neris, and Maikel Franco. Jeanmar is sporting an absolutely charming smile, and I’ll say it: a baseball uniform doesn’t do him justice, because Jeanmar Gomez is one handsome cat. And look at the bag he’s holding! He’s got excellent taste in luggage! Okay, it’s happened, you’ve all witnessed it. Jeanmar Gomez is my newest baseball boyfriend.
Hector Neris is slick as hell in this photo, with the black pants, stylish shoes (they look similar to Franco’s), and a midnight blue button down. I also love that he has his jersey number on a chain around his neck. And how about those shades? Next to him, Maikel Franco looks like he’s going to an entirely different party. Neris is going to a club, Franco is going to an upscale South Florida beach party. It takes a strong, confident man to wear white pants and a pink shirt, and I think we can all confirm that Maikel Franco is a strong, confident man. Dude’s pulling them off, too.
Okay, I’m not sure I want to go to whatever party these guys are going to. Ryan Howard looks fine. He looks good, even. He always looks good, he’s a handsome fellow, and he’s making this cowboy hat thing work for him. Maybe it’s the smile, the earring, the plaid shirt, or something else, but he’s managing to turn this into Ryan Howard: Charming, Fun-Loving Cowboy Businessman. But the two dudes next to him look like they’re headed to an open casting call for a community theater production of Blazing Saddles. They’re adorable, but endlessly doofy. It’s clearly not the first time that either of them has worn a cowboy hat, but Cody Asche (far right) looks like he just stumbled out of third period English. Like he was walking down the hallway to his locker and someone just plopped a cowboy hat on his head. Can someone ask one of the football players who dressed up for the game to lend him a blazer, please? He desperately needs one.
And what is going on with Cameron Rupp?! He’s from Dallas, so I’m guessing he didn’t have to rush ship that GIANT, DINNER PLATE SIZED BELT BUCKLE. I could serve a turkey on that belt buckle. I could seat my enormous Italian family around that belt buckle for Christmas dinner. I could attach two huge hot-air balloons to that belt buckle and use it to evacuate the entire population of a city during an emergency, that’s how gigantic it is. He needs a blazer, too, otherwise he looks like he just finished filming Hee Haw: The New Class.
Hee Haw or not, I love Cameron, and I love all these guys. They should wear a new hat every road trip. Next time, they should wear one of those big Russian furry hats! An ushanka! I’d pay good money to see that.
(Many, many thanks to commenter GBrettfan for posting the original Phillies tweet in the comments of an earlier post.)