When we last saw Travis Hafner he was swinging lightly, and striking even lighter. Well, Pronk has since undergone a new off-season workout regimen that's sure to leave AL pitchers bloodied come next spring.
Hafner played the part of Anton Chigurh, a ruthless killer, in the Coen brothers' latest film No Country for Old Men. Indians manager Eric Wedge hopes the role will improve his desingated hitter's mental toughness, murderous instinct, and ability to recognize a slider.
Personnel on the set provided Hafner additional practice opportunities as well.
"In between takes we let Pronk swing at a piñata which we told him was a live goat made of cowhide," Co-director Joel Coen said. "We would fill it with red jolly ranchers to resemble actual blood."
Hafner's lumbering figure, ogre-soft voice, and passion for children's nursery rhymes made him an instant hit with the cast and crew. Makeup coordinator Stacy Keebler considers Hafner the easiest job she's ever had.
"When he first came onto set he was bald," Keebler said. "Ethan [Coen] just told me to go for a 'Mr. Larson without the nail in his head' look. Luckily I came across some squirrel roadkill which I had Travvy skin. That night I had it tailored to fit, and presto! Anton Chigurh was born."
Hafner became so fond of the role, he is now reportedly lobbying to Indians hitting coach Derek Shelton that he be able to use a cattle stun gun in the batter's box for the 2008 season.
"It's a step in the right direction," Shelton said. "With Trav, that's all we can ask for."