MESA, Ariz. – Joe Maddon's "Respect Bald" event is always a good time for Cubs fans, but the players within the clubhouse made it a must-see production in 2017.
Maddon's charity event helps raise money to support pediatric cancer research and the usual suspects were out in full force this year to get their heads shaved — Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Szczur.
Maddon addresses the crowd before Respect Bald: pic.twitter.com/etMsd4a60D— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017
The clubhouse took it to the next level by getting pitcher Pierce Johnson and catcher Taylor Davis — the two guys with the longest hair on the team — to shave their heads:
Maddon brings Davis and Johnson front and center: pic.twitter.com/QiNFft1G7w— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) March 4, 2017
Another shot of Johnson (left) and Davis (right) pic.twitter.com/kG6Kcq9nir— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017
The Cubs actually started a pool to get the two players to abandon their flow game, with Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Arrieta among the guys pushing the pot the hardest.
"I was very nervous, to say the least," Johnson said. "It was really fun. The build-up for all of this was the funnest process for me. The pot just kept getting bigger and bigger. They just kept throwing money out there.
"It was really too hard to say no. It's fun to be a part of."
Of course, Johnson and Davis had a chance to decline and maintain their impeccable locks, but it was "too hard to say no with that kind of pot out there."
Davis' pot climbed to $27,000 while Johnson's peaked at $17,000. Maddon said the Cubs players donated more than $50,000 on top of the donations from coaches, fans and others.
"It's cool, especially when you get the cancer survivor to come over and sit next to you. It gives you purpose," Davis said. "It's invigorating.
"We wanted to raise as much money as we possibly could and I think we accomplished that. It's a pretty good paycheck for this foundation and it's well worth every second."
Taylor Davis got a pigtails look before getting buzzed: pic.twitter.com/P3AMRLEc2F— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017
Pierce and Davis clutch their hair: pic.twitter.com/CztDtCxklU— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) March 4, 2017
Johnson and Davis have been growing their hair out since 2013 and Johnson joked he's going to need a lot of sunscreen because his neck hasn't seen the sun in four years.
The after for Johnson:
The after look for Pierce. He said his neck hasn't seen the sun in 4 years. pic.twitter.com/EuJxGjIip4— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017
And here's Davis after four years without a haircut:
The after look for Taylor Davis: pic.twitter.com/pRgVGT7DdA— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017
This wasn't on either guy's radar coming into camp and it wasn't an easy decision, but it became easier as the charitable pot grew, Johnson said.
Rizzo and Schwarber got in on the action, too:
It's a shame this hair from Rizzo is on its way out pic.twitter.com/3WimFISHCE— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) March 4, 2017
Schwarbs: pic.twitter.com/JmvVlilJOv— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017
And then the scariest part of the morning — Clark the Cub took up the clippers to shave Munenori Kawsaki's head:
Clark is shaving Kawasaki's head: pic.twitter.com/ISnRnusCan— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 4, 2017