When A.J. Puk cut his trademark flowing blond locks, the Oakland A’s fans were not the only ones that needed to do a double take.
A.J. Puk has become well known for his distinctive look on the mound. Standing at 6’7″ tall and with his flowing blond locks, he would appear equally at home fronting a metal band as he does on the diamond. Naturally, when he cut his hair prior to his reappearance at the A’s summer training camp, it caused a few double takes from fans and teammates alike.
It was also natural that Puk would have some fun with the situation. When he realized that some teammates no longer recognized him, it was time to confuse them even more.
It was a perfectly reasonable reaction. Puk certainly had a different look which confused a lot of people. Mateo was also dealt for a player to be named later, furthering the mystery of who Puk was with the shorter hair. That ruse could have lasted for a while.
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Or, at least, until Puk set foot on the mound and began to pitch. At that point, it would have been clear as to who was on the mound, with the absolutely filthy stuff that made him a top prospect in evidence. While Mateo may be talented, there is virtually zero chance that the Padres would trade a pitcher of that talent for the former top prospect.
It is also a reminder that, no matter what, baseball will still be the same underneath the surface. The game may look different, with social distancing, players wearing masks, and a plethora of rule changes, but the players are the same. Those same hijinks and pranks may be a bit different, but they will still take place.
On a more serious side, one has to wonder if the haircut is Puk’s way of sending a subtle message. With the more ‘professional’ image, he is saying that it is time to get to work, to deliver over the course of this season. It is a subtle change, but one that could mean a lot.
A.J. Puk got a haircut and had a bit of fun at his teammates’ expense. Now, it is time to get to work and deliver another postseason berth.