HOUSTON ( Associated Press) — Framber Valdez and Luis García have established themselves as fixtures in the Houston Astros’ rotation.
They put a lot of effort into their preparation for each opening both in the stadium and in the barbershop.
Encouraged to express their individuality, both pitchers received hair extensions. And they are showing their flamboyant tension this season, as Houston seeks to reach the World Series for the fourth time in six years.
“A lot of people like to joke about this topic,” Valdez said. “But I feel good about my hair, I love it and I will continue to do it that way.”
Garcia, with curly hair that fell on her shoulders, opted to add a ponytail adorned with embellished beads at the ends during the summer.
“People saw me with braids more because it’s not a normal ‘look’,” said the 25-year-old Venezuelan.
For Valdez, who will begin Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Seattle on Thursday, the change was more dramatic.
To garner attention in his first All-Star Game in July, the 28-year-old left-hander added flowing, shoulder-length dreadlocks to the hair, which were cut very finely at the sides.
Wearing abusive hair is a common practice in baseball. Outfielder Oscar Gamble sported a stunning Afro in the 1970s. Most recently, pitcher Noah Syndergaard earned the nickname “Thor” for his voluminous blonde hair.
Like the iconic Rolly Fingers mustache, the mustache has also left its mark.
Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel always had the weirdest haircut on the team. Her style is like pineapple leaves with raised hairs.
The reception was better for few braids than NBA star Jimmy Butler, which he debuted this summer. The Miami Heat forward was the center of jokes for some dreadlock extensions. He denied that they were expanding on Media Day, although his Instagram post made it clear that they were. He disappeared when he took the court for the Heat’s first preseason game.
Gurriel initially did not like Valdez’s extensions. He did many mischief with her.
“It looked so weird with all my hair,” Gurrill said. “But now I love it. I think he looks great. I like that people change their style because I like to do that too.”
Valdez initially had to make fun of Gurriel and the others, but did not reach the level of taunting Butler.
They ignore comments from people who don’t like unusual styles.
“My mom loves it,” Garcia said. “If it’s okay for him, so am I.”
But they have to devote a lot of time to groom their hair properly. Both said that the first extension took more than four hours and subsequent touch-ups took anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.
Garcia revealed another detail.
He didn’t have pearls when he got an extension in June, and his teammates reacted to the noise he made when he came out on the pitch.
“They were making a little noise as I walked around, and the boys were wondering what was going on. I told them ‘it,'” Garcia said, pointing to the beads in the hair.