The hairy hurlers—towering at an intimidating 6'4" and 6'6" respectively—have been throwing fire since the season's start, helping to put the Mets just three games shy of first place behind the Washington Nationals. And while the Mets capitalize on the duo's considerable skills, it's their flowing locks that just landed them a deal with Axe Hair Products. Who woulda thunk it?
DeGrom and Syndergaard recently spoke with Maxim about baseball influences, personal style, and how their trademark hirsute-ness affects their game.
If a career in the Majors never happened, what was your fallback plan?
JD: It's probably a little different for me than Noah, since he was drafted out of high school. I only had one college look at me, and that's where I went, and played short stop but wasn't getting looked at. I stepped on the mound and somehow got fortunate enough to be seen, but I was just going to play till after my senior year. Luckily, I got drafted as junior, and it was a goal of mine since I was younger so I was going to give it every chance that I had, and just go from there.
NS: I gave it a little bit of thought. It was always a dream to become a professional baseball player, but growing up I was always interested in math and science. I also had a passion for working out, so if I didn't play baseball, I'd have probably become some sort of strength coach and help other people achieve their goals and dreams of becoming a professional athlete.
What players did you look up to growing up?
JD: I think everyone has role models as players: Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Omar Vizquel...but family has to be the biggest driving force. Seeing my Dad work every day for 30-something years and go to the same job and how much he enjoyed watching baseball after work made me want to do it. Being able to play a game that you love for a profession was pretty cool.
NS: I really admired Nolan Ryan, I mimic his game a lot towards mine. Whenever he took the mound, he had a presence out there that was intimidating. Like Jacob said, my father was also one of my biggest influences, I couldn't be more thankful for my family being the best support system I've ever had.
How would you compare this season with where you were a year ago?
JD: I feel like I'm a step back from where I was last year, but I'm working on getting things back to where I want 'em.
NS: From where I was last year to where I am, I feel like it's completely night and day. I got called up last year, Jacob and I had a pretty good relationship, and we just continued to establish that throughout the year. It's nice being able to go out there every five days and watch Jacob, Matt [Harvey], Steven [Matz], Bartolo [Colon], and learn a lot and soak in as much knowledge as possible. In terms of physically, I feel a lot better on the mound, and mentally, it's lightyears ahead.
OK, onto the hair questions. What inspired you both to grow it to such a majestic length?
JD: I get told I look bad with long hair by random fans all the time.
NS: There is a point in time where your hair just doesn't look good when you're growing it out, but if you overcome that hump, you get a product like this right here and it works.
Is it harder to play with long hair?
JD: There was something during spring training where a hitter said it makes it tougher to see the ball, but I don't know if that's true or not. Having long hair is just the image I've created, so it'll stick around for a while while I'm playing.
NS: They probably just couldn't hit it, so they're going to make any kind of excuse. But for me, the whole Thor thing took off so I have no plans on cutting it anytime soon. It really is part of me.
If you had to pick a teammate to start growing out their hair, who would look the best?
NS: The obvious answer would be Bartolo [Colon], but I just want David [Wright] to grow it out so we can make fun of him.
JD: I'd have to go with David, too.
Besides shampooing and blowdrying, what do enjoy doing on your days off in New York City?
JD: On an off day, I'll just want to get outside. I've always been an outdoors person, so off days are normally spent outside somewhere.
NS: I like to embrace the city. Central Park, you can just go out there and ride bikes for hours and enjoy the weather. Anywhere that has a rooftop, that's always fun. I came from a small town in Texas, so seeing all of this is still kind of new to me.
Let's settle this once and for all: Who's got the better hair?
JD: I'd guess we'd tie.
NS: Yeah, we'll just have to see.
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