If you close your eyes and think of baseball this time of year, you can almost hear the crack of the bat and the thump of a fastball hitting a glove. That’s right: Spring Training is underway, and the Kansas City Royals have kicked off baseball season for 2020.
Those longtime Royals Review readers will also know that this means the creation of a traditional post: that of the best pictures from photo day. Every year, there’s a spring training photo day wherein photographers capture the visual images of them baseball dudes to be utilized by the media. Past photo days can be viewed in the following links:
As the years have gone on, there seem to be less and less ridiculous photos, and so I have had to glean amusement from the more mundane. But no matter: photo day is still exciting because WE HAVE NEW PICTURES TO USE!!!!!!!!!!!! When you write multiple posts a week and have to choose from the same dang photos that have been sitting around since September...well, it wears on us.
Without further ado: here we go.
Nick Heath: Pro Ballplayer, Pro Smile
My wife wandered down to my office while I was writing this and this picture was up on the screen. She immediately pointed and said, “He has a great smile.” Yes, he sure does. If you don’t know him, you will: this is Nick Heath, one of the easiest Royals prospects to root for in recent—or any—memory. Minda’s interview with Heath is required reading, so get at it.
You can have a little chonk, as a treat
In my opinion, baseball is alluring in part because you can be really good at it without looking like a Marvel superhero. Salvador Perez is more talented at baseball than I will ever be at anything, but it is nigh impossible to look at this picture without being drawn in by a gluteus maximus. Salvy is truly an inspiration to us all.
The Man Bun game is strong
If you want a man bun in baseball, you’ve gotta work at it. it’s got to be low enough to be corralled below the hat. Staumont is absolutely rocking his here and I hope he keeps it forever.
Ostensibly, somebody would have told Mike Matheny that he was getting his picture taken here. Ostensibly, Mike Matheny would have drawn, from context clues, that a bunch of pictures were being taken, or at the very least was informed that it was photo day. Ostensibly, Allan Henry would have chosen a better picture to upload than this one.
Apparently, none of those things were true, and that’s how we got this picture Matheny looking like he’s reading a Wikipedia article on 18th century basket weaving techniques.
Nicky Lopez has the most striking eyes out of anybody on the team and you can’t tell me otherwise. I mean, you could, but I would just shake my head and disagree with you. Anyway, Lopez looks like a snack here. Am I allowed to say that? I’m straight. Whatever. #snack
O’Hearn is a Jedi now
Most hitters have some pose or poses where they are holding a bat. Ryan O’Hearn, however, is posing with, like, a lightsaber doohickey. If the Royals are going to use lightsabers this year, it is, in fact, the dumbest thing that Rob Manfred has ever implemented—and he has a lot of dumb things he’s tried to implement. Not only would it be hugely dangerous for everybody involved, but it would guarantee that no contact would be made because the balls would be cut in twain every single time.
Jorge Soler is somewhere else
Shortly after I perused the photos available to us through Getty and USA Today, I reached out to Royals photographer Sam Lutz if the Royals had any additional shots that were available. The short answer: no. The slightly longer answer: yes, but they are only for internal use and for social media (you can spy these blue background pictures on player Instagram accounts, for instance).
What this means is that every one of these players had to go through not one but three separate photography sessions—one for Getty, USA Today, and the Royals.
...so, yeah, Jorge Soler looks bored as hell. Can’t blame him.
A Tale of Two Hitters
- Tattoos, glistening in the light
- Eyes following a realistic trajectory of the ball
- Serious “I called that shot” energy
- Is this how I hit a baseball?
- What even, like, do I
- Ok, if I stand here with the bat
- Trying to hit the slowest curveball in the history of the world
- Serious “Did I leave my oven on?” energy
Kyle Zimmer: hero or villain?
Look, all I’m saying is that Zimmer is one step away from becoming a supervillain with a tragic backstory: Highly regarded prospect. Arm troubles. Pain, physical and emotional. Finally got to the big leagues. Insert additional tragic moment—I dunno, scalded by overflowing pasta water or something—and WHAM! New Batman villain.
Of course, it also might be because of his dastardly mustache and goatee, too.
Duff Man Returneth
There’s nothing special here. This is just a cool picture of a cool dude and Royals fan favorite. I didn’t know that Duffy had such a prominent and cool tattoo. Everything about this is cool, tbh. Photo day rocks.
Who is Brett Phillips, really?
So there are three different players listed in our database as Brett Phillips. I hope I do not need to state this but Brett Phillips is only one person. Alternatively, Brett Phillips is actually Mystique from X-Men, in which case it is very impressive how he’s able to be two prospects and a big leaguer at the same time. Heck, maybe we are all Brett Phillips and just don’t know it yet.