Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was featured in my Father's Day column, but he had more to say about the way the birth of his new daughter Ella has impacted his life and career as a major league ballplayer.
“I think it changed me before she was even here,'' Davis said, "and obviously it changed me after she was born and seeing her being born and now getting to be a part of her life everyday. It’s tough when your wife is pregnant and, as a dad you really feel like, it’s not like you’re disconnected but you’re not as connected as the mom is. Then, once she's born, you get to see her and hold her and it's a little more real.
"It’s always good to look back at how things have changed over the years. We were obviously ready to have a kid and excited about her getting here, but once she’s here I think you realize how much you really have grown up. It’s crazy little things here and there, I guess I have a different perspective on them now.”
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Davis doesn't know exactly how fatherhood might affect his performance on the field, but he cites a couple of conversations with Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon as helping him get an idea of what's ahead.
“He was down in Triple-A,'' Davis said. "The Royals had sent him down and I had been sent down for the 27th time by the Rangers, and I was just talking to him and picking his brain, and he was really down. We both got called up and I saw him a year later. He was swinging the bat well and I had found my stride over here and I asked him what’s the difference.
"He said, ‘You know what, after having a kid I realized that every night I was going home and taking the game home with me. I was so frustrated and so caught up in what was going on at the field that I never gave myself a break. After I had my little boy, it really just gave me a different perspective.’
"When you go home at night and pick up your child and she looks in you eyes you understand that there are bigger things in this world, and that’s kind of how I feel about it.”
Davis recognized immediately that life had become even more meaningful for himself and his wife, Jill, but he doesn't believe that having a family will put more pressure on him to succeed on the baseball field.
“When you get married you know that you’re not just taking care of yourself,'' he said. "That’s where my faith plays a huge role in my life. I understand this game is a gift.
"I understand that I’m not going to be able to play it for the rest of my life, but I’m going to have an opportunity to enjoy it hopefully for the next few years. I also understand that if it ends today, God’s going to have something in store for me and whatever he has in store for me is far better than anything I could ever dream up."