San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto shared a few pictures of himself in the pool this afternoon. Just kicking back, relaxing, enjoying a nice chill offseason Sunday. Beautiful!
But today’s snapshots are more than just a simple continuation of the breezy, fun-filled photos that comprise Cueto’s Instagram. They’re part of a growing mystery: why does Johnny Cueto, major league baseball player with an objectively not-bad-at-all body, so frequently feel the need to wear a shirt into the pool?
What makes Cueto’s Instagram so wonderful (and it genuinely is wonderful!) are the tiny ways that he breaks away from the standards for athletes on the medium. It’s not just game-day snapshots with his teammates and partying pics or him with his family and cheesy re-grammed inspirational quotes. All of that is there, sure. But there are also plenty of pictures of Cueto making himself vulnerable by embracing the sweet self-indulgence of selfies and solo pictures in a way that seems wholly un-self conscious. It’s him wearing sweatpants at Costco, it’s him chilling at the mall on his day off, it’s him watching TV in bed, it’s him telling us good morning from bed. It’s just Johnny Cueto loving Johnny Cueto and sharing that, just because he can, and it’s fucking great.
And yet time and time again, he needs to wear a shirt into the pool. (And probably not for sun prevention, because if so—why a tank top?)
Cueto feels comfortable sharing so much—how he buys a phone! how he goes shopping! how he feels about his dead horse!—and yet not this. But it’s important to note that it hasn’t always been this way. His first pool Instagram, two teams and one World Series title ago back in January of 2015, featured him not only shirtless but proudly so.
Return to that self-confidence, Johnny. You are enough, just as you are.