Do you remember school portrait day?
Mom yelling at you to comb your hair and tuck in your shirt. Maybe she even laid out a hideous new outfit for you to wear.
For boys, it was something with a collar. Striped or plaid with a top button designed to cut off your windpipe. Corduroy pants. Maybe even dress shoes. Ugh. The worst.
For girls, it was probably a big, poofy dress and a fancy bow in your hair. That sounds pretty awful too.
We had to do it though, because as every kid knows, our parents “SHELLED OUT GOOD MONEY FOR THOSE DAMN PICTURES, SO YOU ARE GOING TO LOOK NICE!”
Waiting in a line snaking around the entire gymnasium for your turn to sit on a stool in front of some cheesy backdrop with like, lasers or Fall leaves or something. Temporarily blinded by some amateur Ansel Adams with his 10,000 watt flash bulb. Finally seeing the picture three months later and realizing you had a huge mustard stain on your shirt.
Compared to kids, ballplayers have it relatively easy on Spring Training picture day. Not only are they paid to be there, they get to wear baseball uniforms! No big, poofy dresses, no choke collars, and no moms yelling. These are big boys, okay. Larry Baer isn’t standing behind Brandon Crawford looking in the mirror, brushing his hair for him. At least, I don’t think he is. Anyway, a whole team of handlers and PR staff and fluffers are around to make them look good the whole time, and oh yeah, the free food is probably awesome too.
But there is one drawback. One big difference between us and them. Your terrible school portrait has about a .000001% chance of making it onto the internet for others to see and make fun of, while pictures of your favorite ballplayers have a 100% chance. Ahhh, the internet. The great equalizer. They are handsome, athletic, successful, and spectacularly rich, and we … we are not … BUT, we do have access to their goofy ass pictures! And Photoshop!
This year, for reasons we do not know and dare not question, the Giants decided to go above and beyond the normal assignment for Spring Training pictures. The full collection is here, graciously provided to us by Katie Dowd of SFGate. As you scroll through the 75 photos you’ll see some of the same old boring shots we’re used to. Johnny Slugger in a Giants cap, sitting frowny-faced in front of a drab gray backdrop.
But you’ll also see some art-house shots mixed in there. They’re portraits, really. Profile views of some of the team leaders, their silhouettes draped in darkness. Their facial hair highlighted exquisitely. Pained expressions on their weathered faces. These are the men of Giants baseball. These are their portraits*.
*portraits slightly altered