Photo Day shenanigans are a Spring Training tradition.

I’m really not sure why a portion of the Yankees’ Photo Day took place in a bathroom, as evidenced by an Alex Rodriguez picture that circulated around the Internet and Twitterverse on Monday. I checked the Internet for answers as to why a photographer from a reputable company set up camp with A-Rod in such an odd place, but there didn’t seem to be a logical explanation. The only conclusion I can draw is the photo was leaked, and we’re the unfortunate beneficiaries of yellow journalism.

Ba-da-bum.

Anyhoo, I can assure you the Astros’ Photo Day setup was considerably less cramped, had a much lower ick factor, and each year, they try to make it as painless for the players as possible.

Photo Day is a somewhat awkward experience, but one that is an essential part of big league baseball. It’s the one day all year that everyone who needs headshots or posed shots has access to the players, all at once. Newspapers, online news organizations, baseball card companies and the club’s own scoreboard staff use Photo Day to stockpile pictures of players that they will inevitably need over the course of a season.

Photo Day starts insanely early. The first batch of Astros players began the process at 7 a.m., which means the photographers had to be here around 5:30 or so to set up. Groups went through the stations in 15-minute increments, with the youngest, most inexperienced players going first, and the veteran guys (Carlos Lee was last) getting the more desirable time slots.

Players go from station to station with a printout of their name and their position. They hold up the sign for the first photo that is snapped, so that they’re easily identifiable when the hundreds of photos from all 30 teams need to be organized and placed into a database.

(Years ago, Reggie Abercrombie and Hanley Ramirez thought it would be funny to switch signs. For a full year, their head shots on scoreboards all through the league and in media guides were not of themselves, but of each other.)

Here is some behind-the-scenes footage of Photo Day, where players are trying to act naturally for the cameras while ignoring the few of us who snicker from the sidelines. Enos Cabell had a laugh as he remembered Photo Days from years past, when the topic of the exercise centered around the size of Bruce Bochy’s head.

Photo gallery:

Jose Altuve

Jason Bourgeois

Matt Downs

Enos Cabell searches for his hat size while recalling the unusually large head belonging to former teammate Bruce Bochy.

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8 Comments

Any chance on Astroline tonight that Milo Hamilton will admit he was wrong last week about a lawsuit forcing the pistol off of the Colt .45s jersey?

James does it mean that much to you. The Houston Astros will not be using the Colt .45s jersey. There was a legal issue with it in the 1960′s and MLB has decided it doesn’t belong now. It could be for a multitude of reasons. There is a reason why he probably cut you short…there are other callers and he also has commercial breaks to worry about. So your feelings possibly got hurt…just move on and grow up.

Yeah, it means a lot to me. The truth is that MLB is destroying a great uniform for political reasons and Milo Hamilton didn’t tell the truth on the air. This decision has absolutely nothing to do with the old 1965 suit between Judge Hofheinz and Colt Firearms.

So Milo cut you off…move on. MLB is going to change their stance as much as I disagree with it, life goes on. As a person who has called into radio shows before you’ll sometimes get cut-off for various reasons that radio for you.

Did you mean MLB isn’t going to change their stance? Various reasons that radio for you? What?

So I had a few errors in my comment….you need to get over the fact that Milo cut you off and your feelings got hurt. Getting cut off in radio happens for various reasons. Your an adult grow up. MLB said the decision on the jersey will fall to the Astros.

Yes, I’m excited that MLB has backed down over this. It would not have happened if we just mumbled along like you wanted us all to do.

My feelings didn’t get hurt and I can assure you I’m an adult. My issue with Milo Hamilton had to do with him telling me I was wrong (“Wrong James! Wrong!”) and that this all had to do with a lawsuit with Colt. That was incorrect and when I tried to politely correct him they cut me off. You would think I was Harry Caray by the way he handled that situation.

If your feelings didn’t get hurt as you stated than why do you want Milo to say he was wrong? So he cut you off…move on because Milo has.

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