I’ve railed on the man some fans haver endearingly referred to as “Crush” (or “The Crusher” if you’re Mike Bordick) for years. After the Orioles made the mind-boggling decision to compete against themselves in the bidding for then free agent Chris Davis and up the ante by $11 million, I opined that the Davis deal would set the O’s back years.
And it has.
Davis has been flat out awful and ironically the only thing saving his spot on the team’s roster is that bloated contract. Team owner Peter Angelos is about as comfortable admitting the errors of his ways as Hillary Clinton is in a confessional. Consequently, he won’t allow O’s GM Mike Elias to cut ties with the player who has for all intents and purposes replaced the Mendoza line with the Davis flatline. You can’t even get a Pointsbet Promo Code for an over/under bet on the inevitable event – the Davis DFA.
The strikeouts – particularly the backwards K’s on pitches “right down Broadway” with runners in scoring position are flat-out maddening. Making matters worse, the “caught looking” at-bats sometimes even feature Davis swinging at pitches that travel just 59 feet, 6 inches. Royal Farms should feature an orange frozen drink called The Crusher Brain Freeze.
All that said, believe it or not, lately I’m beginning to come around on Davis. No, his couple of dingers over the past few games haven’t made a believer out of me and they haven’t convinced me that his deal isn’t the worst in Orioles history. It is – by a country mile.
My softening up as it relates to Davis has everything to do with the man. No matter what he does, he’s going to get his $161 million. Whether he shows up late, calls out, gets a season ending hangnail or can’t find his way to the stadium, he’s going to be paid.
Yet given all of the criticisms, given the embarrassing stats, given articles like mine that rake him over the coals, he still carries himself with dignity; he still works on his decaying craft; he still fields questions from the media, some of which could and should be embarrassing. Add it all up and the message is clear.
Chris Davis is one classy dude!
It’s hard to walk in a man’s shoes and understand what he’s going through. And in the case of Davis, it’s next to impossible. His situation is clearly unique. He may never be a player who by example can show your kids how to slap the ball down the left field line. He may not be able to show your kids how to take what the defense gives – to lay down that bunt which we all believe is the easiest single waiting to happen in MLB history.
But what Chris Davis is showing your kids every day when he arrives at the ballpark, mingles with his teammates and coaches, puts in the work despite deficient results and then steps up to that plate when he’d rather have a root canal, is how to tackle adversity. By continuing to carry himself as he has, despite struggles that would make most of us want to crawl into a hole, he plows ahead.
He may never hit 50 home runs again. He may never even hit 20 home runs again in a season. And clearly, he’ll never earn his grossly inflated contract – one which by the way, wasn’t his fault. That’s on Mr. Angelos.
But what he will earn is respect. At least he’s earned MY respect.
And I hope he’s earned yours too.
He at least deserves that.