Jon Gray spoiled a Rockies promotion, but for a very good cause

Planning ahead is never easy for the marketing departments of major and minor-league baseball teams. Think about how many times we’ve seen a trade make a bobblehead day or a calendar photo obsolete.

It happens a lot, because baseball is an unpredictable game with fluid rosters and game plans that can change by the hour.

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So many things can happen. Trades can happen. Injuries can happen. Haircuts can happen.

Wait … did we say haircuts?

Yes, even a new look can sometimes throw a wrench into a planned promotion. But in the case of Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray, at least it was for a good cause.

On June 16, the team will be giving a hair hat with a removable wig stuck to the inside that mimics Gray’s signature flowing blond mane. Or we should say mimicked, since Gray had eight inches chopped off on Tuesday so he could donate to “Locks of Love.”

Gray’s now former look, which closely resembled that of Noah Syndergaard, had become more than a staple look for him. It had become a staple for the team. In some ways it even symbolized the face of the Rockies future. Gray is already the team’s undisputed ace after being selected third overall in the 2014 MLB Draft. Many people see him evolving into an ace by any team’s standards.

The promotion is a cool nod to an up-and-coming player, and it will remain as such for fans who enjoyed his long locks. As for Gray’s decision, it’s an acknowledgement of something bigger than baseball and far more important than looking cool and intimidating.

“It’s important,” Gray told the Denver Post. “I can do this every year if I plan it right. It’s an opportunity to help. It’s a hair journey.”

Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray parts with an eight-inch ponytail after cutting his hair of
Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray parts with an eight-inch ponytail after cutting his hair of “Locks of Love.” (AP)

Several of Gray’s teammates and coaches were on hand to watch the haircut to see if Gray could go through with it. His wife, Jacklyn, was also on hand, noting that this was Gray’s first haircut of any kind since the summer of 2015.

“Once Jon found out he could donate his hair, we discussed it,” Jacklyn said. “He decided, ‘This is something I wanted to do.’ It’s an awesome thing to do.”

One thing that won’t change is Gray’s overpowering presence on the hill. At 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, he will remain a very large human being. Gray did acknowledge that he might have to “pitch inside a little more” to make up some of the lost intimidation.

With that said, and with a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s on everyone’s mind, you can already sense the opposition hoping that Gray’s hair will grow back by June.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!