MESA, Ariz. -- All Taylor Davis had to do was look at the cancer patients in the crowd at the Cubs' Respect Bald event, and getting his hair cut for the first time in six years was worth it."You see these kids -- there's a cancer survivor who's half my
MESA, Ariz. -- All Taylor Davis had to do was look at the cancer patients in the crowd at the Cubs' Respect Bald event, and getting his hair cut for the first time in six years was worth it.
"You see these kids -- there's a cancer survivor who's half my age," Davis said. "I was upset about going 0-for-3 two nights ago. Everything is a much bigger picture here."
Davis, 27, was one of several Cubs players who took part in manager Joe Maddon's third Respect Bald fundraiser, with proceeds going to pediatric cancer research. In the two previous years, the event raised $50,000. On Saturday, the Cubs players had raised $50,000 before the first hair was trimmed, thanks to some cajoling from Jonathan Lester and John Lackey.
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When the two veteran pitchers found out about the event, they asked their Cubs teammates to raise money to encourage Davis, a catcher, and Minor League pitcher Pierce Johnson to trim their long blond locks.
"Neither one has kids of their own," Maddon said of Davis and Johnson. "For me, when we have players like this, who have the empathy to participate and don't have children of their own, that says a lot about the guy and it's very impressive."
Several cancer patients from Banner Children's Hospital attended the event, and some were even allowed to do the trimming.
"It's our attempt to say we're here to help and let them know they have our support," said Maddon, who also got his silver hair shaved.
When Maddon managed in Tampa Bay, he had a sign in the clubhouse that said, "Fortune favors the bold." It's evolved.
"I'm about risk-taking," Maddon said. "When it comes to baseball, that group that's willing to take calculated risks ends up winning a World Series. From that, it evolved into 'Fortune favors the bald.'"
Since joining the Cubs and creating his Respect 90 foundation, Maddon has called the event, Respect Bald, and all of the Cubs players and coaching staff wore T-shirts with the logo on Saturday.
Both Davis and Johnson may need smaller hats now.
"It definitely feels weird," Johnson said. "There's no wind blowing through my hair. I feel naked."
"It was awesome," Davis said. "I'll do whatever for these kids. Seeing these kids is so much more powerful than anything we can do. It was a little empowering -- I was very excited to do it."
Maddon assured the players their hair will grow back.
"You have to pay more attention to sunscreens in advance," Maddon said of what changes now that his hair is trimmed. "We all have a little bit of an ego, we're all a little vain. I'm at the point now, married with children and grandchildren, cutting my hair is a small price to pay."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.