One of the most bizarre, lasting images from the 2004 ALCS–besides that look of faux shock on A-Rod’s face when he realized his “ball slap” maneuver wasn’t quite as stealth as he might have hoped–was Brian Cashman’s remarkably ill-fitting headwarmer. Everytime the cameras showed him sitting there, looking like a kid who should be rolling down I-95 on the short bus or one of Ralphie’s buddies from A Christmas Story, I couldn’t help thinking, “This is the guy controlling one of baseball’s biggest payrolls?” Most of us just assumed the guy had lost a bet, or that he was concealing a microphone through which Dave Winfield and Reggie Jackson fed him coded instructions from their secret base on Venus. At some points, as games four and five spiraled out of control for the Yanks, I could’ve sword the damn thing was gonna swallow his entire head, as if responding to his emotions like Spider-man’s black costume. On the bright side, besides establishing him as the whitest white guy who ever lived, “the headwarmer incident” did give rise to one of our favorite recurring bits. So there’s that.

During last week’s Yanks series at Fenway, Cashman was once again in the stands, but now showing off his more relaxed summer gear, which includes some smart sunglasses perched ever-so-nonchalantly atop Mount Baldy.

Compare the two photos. Gone is the panic. Gone is the pasty, deer-in-the-headlights gaze. He looks like a man at peace with the world and himself–almost smug, dare I say. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the headwarmer.

Stay tuned. The battle for ultimate control of Brian Cashman’s forehead will soon be waged.

Oh, and f@#k Giambi.