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Mike Martin talks about LSU, who FSU will start, and more.
Wayne McGahee III/Democrat

OMAHA — When you think about it, who better to write a story about Drew Mendoza’s spectacular hair than your favorite bald columnist?

Because I have the proper perspective. 

I used to have hair. Lots of it. In my mid 20s though it started falling out. By the time I was 30 my bald spot had basically become a bald head. I hung on as long as I could, but eventually – like so many less-fortunate men across this great land – I had to give up the dream and just shave it completely.

I had no other choice.

So with that in mind I asked Mendoza, FSU’s hot-shot freshman first baseman, if he realized how lucky he was to have locks flowing down to his shoulders. 

“You know, I do it for the guys like you,” Mendoza said. “Like Seth (Diters), our strength coach. My uncle, who’s balding. You know, I do it for you guys. That’s why I do it.”

Not all heroes wear capes, people. Some wear a first baseman’s mitt and hit home runs in College World Series elimination games.  

More: Looking Back: Mike Martin got his first coaching experience in Omaha

And as a 42-year-old that used to have hair down to my shoulders as well, it’s truly humbling to hear a teenager show that kind of appreciation for all the follicles that came before him. 

That’s respect, people. That’s something to truly admire. 

As for the hair itself, Mendoza said he had a buzz cut for most of his life. When he decided to grow it out late in his high school career he had no idea what it was going to look like. 

“I had never seen my hair long, it might have had curls – I didn’t know,” Mendoza said. “Then it kind of kept growing. I got lazy, didn’t get a haircut and kind of just stuck with it since then.”

I asked him what kind of hair-care products he uses. Because, let’s be honest, it doesn’t seem plausible that it just naturally flows like that. 

Mendoza bristled at that notion. 

“I’m actually an all-natural kind of guy,” he said. “They asked me yesterday what product (I use). I’m not a product guy. Until I’m getting paid to use a product I’m not going to endorse anybody. But nope, it’s all natural.

“I guess I’m lucky.” 

Yeah. I guess. Whatever.

Anyway, it’s one thing to grow the hair out just to see what it looks like. But to stick with it, to say “this is who I am now,” was a real commitment. So I asked him, sort of already knowing the answer, whether the feedback he received (from the people that mattered) was positive. 

“For the most part, yeah,” Mendoza said with a laugh. “Dad wasn’t always on board. Understandably. But he’s on board now, so we’re all good.”

My next question was a logical one considering the dark time we’re currently living in as a society: Has he, for any reason, ever worn a man bun? 

“In the weight room every once in a while,” Mendoza admitted. “It’s a behind-closed-doors thing. I wouldn’t go out in public with it. I think my dad would crucify me if I went out in public with a man bun.”

It’s refreshing to know there are still great parents out there isn’t it? I have to assume NOT wearing a man bun is the best Father’s Day gift Mendoza could ever give to his dad. That and maybe a College World Series title.

More: FSU walks to College World Series win over Cal State Fullerton

Hey, on that subject: The Seminoles are still alive out here. They’re one of six teams left with a chance to win the championship. And while the odds of beating LSU once and Oregon State (56-4) twice to reach the College World Series finals aren’t exactly great, it is baseball. Anything can happen. 

Which brings us back to Mendoza’s hair. Doesn’t everything really?

He knows it’s a popular subject on Twitter. He knows it’s mentioned most times the Seminoles are on television. He gets it. And he doesn’t mind it at all. 

Why should he? He has hair after all. Life is good. 

“I mean it’s not bad attention,” Mendoza said. “It’s better than, ‘He forgot to field a bunt.’ If they talk about my hair instead of not fielding a bunt than that’s good, I guess. I’m not against it.”

As for how long he’s going to grow it? 

“I did trim it (in the fall),” Mendoza said.

Because he was asked to by the coaching staff, actually.

“It was respectable,” he said. “A little clean-cut I guess you’d call it. And since then they haven’t said anything. So I’m going to let it ride. Once we’re done, once the season is over, I’m going to trim it up.

“But until then I’m going to let it ride.”

Ride it for as long as possible, you lucky son of a gun.