When Orioles first baseman Chris Davis flailed at a changeup in the dirt Tuesday for the last out of the third inning, he says he was really frustrated.
So he snapped. And so did his bat. Over Davis' knee in one quick motion.
"It was misbehaving, so I put him in timeout," Davis said about snapping his bat. "It's not something I am proud of. It's not something, 'Hey, I can break a bat over my knee.' But in that situation out there, I knew I wasn't going to get a lot to hit and I still continued to swing at a ball in the dirt. It was a little frustrating, and everyone gets mad. But I didn't swear, so I'm happy with that."
Davis' bat-breaking exploits made him a bit of an Internet sensation in the past 24 hours, or as he says "I got worn out on it on Twitter."
Davis said he's broken bats over his right knee in the past — including last year heading into the dugout after a rough plate appearance. But Tuesday's bat-killing occurred after the final out of the inning, and on his way to first base, so it was a pretty public display. Davis said he prides himself in keeping his emotions in check, but he lost it temporarily.
"With this game, as hard as we work at it and as much time as we put into it and sacrifice time with our families to come up here early and put in all the extra swings, you expect the results to be there. And sometimes when they're not, you get frustrated," Davis said. "I'm not proud of it. I'm not ashamed of it either. It's just a reaction. It's not something that I would encourage by any means, but it just kind of happened."
Davis said he's never practiced the stunt. But he knows he can do it without hurting himself.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he'd prefer if Davis did something to alleviate the frustration, but he didn't seem too bothered by the incident.
"It's risky. I think I'd be more inclined [to say] 'Let's do something that kept us from being that mad.' You could take that pitch. That might help," Showalter said. "But he's not the first guy or last guy [to get frustrated]."
Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth said he's seen players snap their bats on occasion, and it always amazes him. He said he'd never do it for several reasons. First, he really likes his bats. And secondly?
"I just don't think I have that level of rage in me. You've got to lose yourself for a minute to do that," McLouth said. "[Davis] is strong enough so he can make up for that lack of rage with pure strength."
Pitcher Tommy Hunter, who has known Davis for years and has seen his bat-snap before, is unimpressed by the feat.
"Meathead," Hunter said, shaking his head. "That's so stupid. That was just stupid. It's the only comment I have for that. First off, he just wasted $85 that some other person would have loved to have had."
Hunter said he's never talked to Davis about it, but the outspoken right-hander said he'd have no problem expressing his feelings to his buddy.
"It's like throwing a glove or throwing a temper tantrum. It's not the first time or the last time he ever struck out. I love the guy to death, but that was pretty stupid," Hunter said, with a trace of a smile. "I've never tried it. It wouldn't be on the top of my list. I wouldn't think that breaking a bat over my leg would be something fun to do. But that's just me."
Davis said he has seen replays of athletic legend Bo Jackson breaking bats over his leg and helmet while playing in the majors. And he's not trying to join Jackson's exclusive club.
"I saw Bo Jackson do it all the time," Davis said. "He could do it over his head, though. That's a whole other level. I'm not going to go there."
Then Davis paused, laughed and said, "Yet."Around the horn
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Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.