MINNEAPOLIS -- The cell phone chimes from the counter, and the buzzing that permeates the air of the small room halts as Aneudys Duran switches off his electric clipper to answer the FaceTime call. The confused face of Twins 24-year-old rookie second baseman Edouard Julien fills the screen.
“Dude, where’s your office?” Julien asks, in his French-tinged English.
The office, if you can even call it that, is in the field access hallway on the service level of Target Field, right next to the visitors’ clubhouse on the third-base side. It really doesn’t look like much. The plain door is simply labeled with a sign that says “Star Dressing Room 1,” and Duran doesn’t even have the key, both of which suggest that labeling it his “office” would probably be a stretch.
But in the hours leading up to a game, there’s nowhere outside of the clubhouse that you’re more likely to stumble upon a player or coach. Perhaps 15-20 household names pass through that small room in the depths of Target Field on a busy day, because that’s where Duran -- known to all as “Andy Fade” -- works his magic as the Twins’ team barber.
Andy jokes that, these days, since games are broadcast in increasingly high definition to screens around the world, it’s more important than ever to get all the small details right -- and, without fail, he always does.
That’s why it’s not just the Twins’ players and coaches who trust him. Peek at Andy’s Instagram account, and you’ll see an endless array of photos of his work on the sport’s biggest stars, from Carlos Correa to Aaron Judge; from Miguel Cabrera to Jose Altuve; from Mike Trout to Francisco Lindor.
“A haircut is part of your confidence,” Correa said. “You get a haircut, you look good, you feel good when you go out there. It's important to have the right guy doing it.”
For a decade now, Andy Fade has been the right guy -- not only for the Twins, but for stars across the MLB universe.
Thursday, May 25 was an off-day, and there are still three hours to go until the 7:10 p.m. first pitch of the Twins’ series opener against the Blue Jays the next day, but Andy is already getting tired and hungry.
Andy has been at the ballpark since 11:30 a.m., and he hasn’t had more than about two minutes to himself at any point. This is, in theory, the lull in his week.
The week began in Rochester, N.Y., the city Andy still calls home. He’s of Dominican heritage, but he grew up in Rochester and now owns a barbershop there. During this week, on Monday, he caught a flight from Rochester to Minneapolis via Atlanta, where he spent most of the day in a flight delay, which caused him to miss most of the pregame for the first day of the six-game homestand. That’s bad, since the first day is when a lot of guys need his services.
He had to work extra hard on Tuesday to make up for that time -- and on Wednesday, he flew back to Atlanta, where he needed to touch up longtime client Eddie Rosario and Rosario's Braves teammates Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna. On Thursday, he flew back to the Twin Cities and went to Correa’s house, where he was entrusted with giving 17-month-old Kylo Correa -- the shortstop’s elder son -- his first haircut.
Then, it’s back on Friday morning to Target Field, where Julien listens to that recap of the week with awe, having successfully located the room.
“Worldwide, baby,” Julien said. “He's a beast.”
He’s second on the list that day, following reliever Brock Stewart. Correa is also on the docket, as are Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers, Christian Vázquez and his son, Jovani Moran, Jorge Polanco and José Berríos -- back for his Andy Fade cut despite now being a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The word-of-mouth factor in baseball is very strong, and Andy’s work has attracted interest from players on other teams through the years, particularly as the first generation of Twins players attended to by Andy have now scattered around the league.
He did cuts for some players from Teams Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic, and Spring Training always offers Andy a prime opportunity. Polanco actually provided Andy with a room at his own place so that Andy could be around for the duration of Spring Training, and he spent days at the camps of the Rays, Braves and Red Sox in addition to the Twins.
Now, he talks rather nonchalantly about all the stars who have sat under his clippers over the years, remembering how he did their hair from memory -- and when asked if there’s anyone he hasn’t yet checked off for whom he’d like the opportunity, the answer was, of course, Shohei Ohtani.
“That's like the only guy that I haven't really cut,” Andy said.
Believe it or not, when Polanco and Berríos were coming up in the Twins’ Minor League system together, they would actually pay teammate Kennys Vargas to cut their hair.
“He cut it good for a baseball player, yeah,” Berríos said.
But their promotions to Triple-A brought them to Rochester -- site of the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate at the time -- and like many players over the years, that’s where they first ran into Andy, who would occasionally drop into Frontier Field (now Innovative Field) to cut players’ hair.
He thinks Dominican right-hander José Veras was the first big leaguer to use his services, and that turned into a regular stream of rehabbing Yankees and Red Sox players who would ask for him when they’d come through Rochester. Since it was the Twins whose affiliate played at that ballpark, a natural connection emerged.
He was always naturally good at fades -- and that’s where his trade name came from. At first, it was mostly visiting players who would use him when they needed a quick cut on the road, because they didn’t really have other choices who came recommended.
“When I was new here, nobody really trusted me like that,” Andy said. “It wasn't a lot of Latins here like now. So when they saw the Latins getting the nice haircuts with the nice lines and stuff like that, they started trusting me a little more.”
But soon, the staff, clubhouse attendants and players began pushing more people in his direction. Unsurprisingly, the extremely outgoing Eduardo Escobar would urge everyone in his orbit -- from Brian Dozier on out -- to get their hair cut with Andy whenever possible.
Now, he’s about as busy as he’s ever been -- mainly because he’s so entrenched at this point that he’s the go-to for just about everyone in the Twins’ clubhouse, most of whom come by once a homestand.
The main thing they all like is, of course, that it’s a really good haircut. Andy is also very easy to talk to and as a former DJ he plays good music while he cuts. And for Spanish-speaking players, the shared Latin American identity affords a sense of comfort that, for a while, helps a small dressing room off a hallway in the depths of a baseball field in the United States feel a little more like home.
“Takes me back to when I was a kid, getting a haircut, speaking Spanish,” Correa said. “And we're all the way up here in Minnesota. Last thing you expect is for somebody cutting your hair to make you feel like you're right at home in Puerto Rico, so many miles away.”
It stunned Carlos and Daniella Correa that 17-month-old Kylo took to the new experience so well. Carlos holds up his phone and shows off a picture of the little boy sitting on his lap, draped in a red covering emblazoned with both the MLB logo and Andy’s personal logo. He’s grinning as he sticks out his tongue at the camera.
“It was almost like he was liking it, like it felt like a massage to him,” Correa said.
After Kylo’s hair was done, Andy stuck around on the family’s patio as they enjoyed a meal together.
Correa has to think when asked about the first time he got a cut from Andy.
“It was, like, 2019 or ‘20?” Correa wonders out loud, thinking.
“No, your rookie year!” Andy fires back.
“Oh, yeah, the rookie year I started! That's true!” Correa replies.
“I still have that picture!” Andy said.
That was all the way back in 2015, when Correa came through Minneapolis as a 20-year-old rookie phenom with the Astros. Since then, Andy has watched Correa transform from a fresh-faced youngster to a father of two and a team leader.
“The guys move around, but I try to make good friendships with the guys no matter what,” Andy said. “That's what I've done with the Twins here. I have a good relationship with the Twins, and players come and go. I don't like to move around a lot, but I have a lot of friends, good friends, around the league.”
While fans experience these players and develop their lasting memories in three-hour snippets between the white lines, Andy’s perspective across a decade has been built in these 30-minute sit-downs about life and family over a backdrop of salsa music, week after week, in a wholly different picture of player and person -- and, ultimately, friend.
“People think he's a barber, but he's more than that,” Berríos said. “Obviously, we develop a relationship. We know each other and then we start a friendship. That starts getting bigger and bigger. And now, we're like close friends and family. We have things to talk about and have fun, just talking about life and family.”
“He's like a coach, like a trainer,” Correa said. “He's part of the team.”
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