Giants Fly Northern California Barbers to Spring Training for Fresh Cuts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On the day before photo day, the Giants were no different than anyone preparing for their high school yearbook photo or a headshot at a new job. Most of them needed haircuts. 

How they got those haircuts is where the Major League Baseball perks came in. 

The players and staff members didn't head to the mall. A barbershop came to them ... all the way from Lafayette, California. 

Clubhouse coordinator Brad Grems arranged for two barbers from SHARP Barber Shop to fly out to Scottsdale and set up a couple of chairs in a back room of the visiting clubhouse of Scottsdale Stadium. Within an hour of landing, Sheldon Torson and E.J. Colberg were already getting their scissors out, and on the first day they gave eight players haircuts.

A day later, a steady stream of players and staffers emerged from the home clubhouse -- usually in shorts, a Giants t-shirt and flip-flops -- and made the short walk to the makeshift shop. The duo gave about 25 more haircuts on their second day.

Torson and Colberg were no strangers to most of their customers. Every other Tuesday during the season, a chair is set up in the family room by the clubhouse. Torson usually gives three to four haircuts when he visits, but before one game, the demand was high. 

"My record is 16 haircuts in one day at the ballpark," he said, smiling. "Most these guys keep it pretty straightforward, but since they're on TV so often, they like to keep it fresh."

The players also like to keep it uncomplicated. Occasionally a barber will visit when the Giants are on the road, and some players will make time to visit a shop during an off day -- some who live near Lafayette regularly visit SHARP -- but there are also plenty who just want a quick solution. It's not like they can ever plan to get their hair trimmed on a quiet weekend. 

"It's just easier for us to do it this way during the season," closer Will Smith said as Colberg cut his hair a few feet from Sam Dyson, who was getting shaped up by Torson. "They're right there in the family room and it just makes it really convenient. You just never know when you need your hair cut, and they're right there."

Torson has been cutting hair for the Giants since the final day of the 2015 season. Geoff Head, a sports scientist who traveled with the team and had an impressive head of hair, was a client. Before the final game he brought Torson into the clubhouse and told him that if guys liked his work, they could bring him back. 

He has been with the Giants ever since, regularly cutting hair and occasionally staying to catch a game. Torson has helped out on the visiting side, too, which led to him once being brought into the ballpark across the bridge. A visiting pitcher got his hair cut at Oracle Park and asked Torson to meet him at the Coliseum for the next series. 

"He had a ritual where he would get a fresh fade every time he pitched -- that was his thing," Torson said. "So he said, 'I'll need another haircut in three days, would you mind following me out there?'"

Torson and Colberg, the shop's manager, traveled much further for photo day, but the Giants made it easy, setting up a room that was convenient for players and the barbers, who watched live BP sessions between haircuts. They'll be back later this month, and this time they're bringing their whole staff, with the goal of taking care of as many players and staff members as they can in six hours. 

That visit will come right in the middle of the spring, during what is traditionally one of the craziest stretches at Scottsdale Stadium. But Torson is focused on normalcy. He wasn't even much of a baseball fan before hooking up with the Giants, and he doesn't ask many baseball questions.

For the barbers, this is like any other haircut -- if you ignore the fact that Buster Posey might be taking batting practice 30 yards away. 

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"I'm just bringing the barber shop to them," Torson said. "Most people think they would be super particular, and of course some of them are, but for the most part all they care about is baseball. From the outside looking in, it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. 

"These guys just want to be treated as regular guys. If you can do that and offer a good haircut, that works."

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