The advice Joc Pederson took from Anthony Rizzo: 'Good things happen when you go blonde'

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By , Audacy Sports

The impact of the Atlanta Braves' trade deadline acquisitions simply can't be understated at this point. The fearsome foursome of Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall and Joc Pederson has been exceptional so far in their new threads, each making an impact in one way or another since joining the team.

Soler led off the World Series with a home run, the first time in the series' 117-year history that the first plate appearance has resulted in a home run. Rosario has been playing out of his mind this postseason, taking home the NLCS MVP Award with a ridiculous .560/.607/1.040 slash line. Duvall, the NL's RBI leader in 2021, also hit a home run in Game 1 of the Fall Classic. And Pederson became an instant celebrity in Atlanta once the playoffs came around, pearls and all, with pinch-hit home runs in two NLDS games.

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One thing that stood out about Pederson's heroics was that he borrowed former teammate Anthony Rizzo's bat for his massively clutch NLDS Game 3 game-winning home run. But that wasn't the only thing Pederson took from Rizzo before leaving Chicago, though item No. 2 was far less palpable than the borrowed bat.

Pederson wrote about Rizzo's sage advice on all things trichology — the study of hair — in his recent article in The Players' Tribune, highlighting just how magical and remarkable his 2021 campaign has been:

I’ll give you another example real quick. So we’re in L.A. for a series near the end of the summer — and my wife has this great stylist there who comes to the house to do hers and the kids’ hair. And since I’m around, the stylist asks if I want to do anything with mine. I probably would have just said no.… but then I remember something.

So, back when I was in Chicago, Rizzo had this idea: that halfway through the year, we needed to go blonde. “Trust me, good things happen when you go blonde.” Not sure if he fact-checked that, or where it came from, but he’d always be saying it. Then I got traded, though, and he did too, so it never happened. But now flash-forward — it’s late August, I’m kind of grinding, not hitting like I should be….. and I remember the blonde thing with Rizzo. So I’m like, alright — why not. I tell my wife’s hair stylist, “Let’s switch it up.” Went blonde.

The guys in the bullpen saw it, and had my walk-up song changed to “The Real Slim Shady.” The fans caught on to it, and of course did their thing. The whole team got a kick out of it. And then also….. it kind of worked???

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In what way did it work, do you ask? Here's what happened in the very next game, in his first at-bat against his former team and NL Cy Young candidate Walker Buehler, after Pederson unveiled his inner Eminem and went with the blond look and new walk-up song.

"Rizzo texts me right after, thrilled — as if I proved his theory, and we discovered a major breakthrough in science or something. And I’m not saying we did…..." Pederson wrote, "But at the same time: It really has just been that kind of season, man."

The stories keep on coming for the Braves, who just watched starting pitcher Charlie Morton perform the incredible, seemingly impossible feat of pitching through a fractured leg... and feeling bad about not doing more.

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