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An appeal to Chris Davis to stay in Baltimore and help this city

Baltimore Orioles' Chris Davis looks on in the dugout before a September interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals.
Baltimore Orioles' Chris Davis looks on in the dugout before a September interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Dear Chris Davis,

Three things right off the bat: I'm a big fan, I hope you make lots of money and it's really none of my business what you do with your life. Your decision about whether to leave Baltimore and the Orioles for another city and another team — that's all yours, brother.

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All I can do is tell you how I feel about it. And how I feel is probably how a lot of long-time Orioles fans feel: We want you to spend the rest of your career here.

You and Adam.

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OK, you and Adam and Manny.

But I'm addressing only you right now because you're a free agent and we keep hearing that one of our favorite players might leave Baltimore. You have a rich and famous agent, the best in the business, and you're in the running for an eye-popping contract worth anywhere from $100 million to $200 million. Peter Schmuck, my colleague from The Baltimore Sun sports department, said that if I was going to write a letter like this, I should do it today because any minute the Los Angeles Dodgers or some other big-market team might offer you $210 million.

That's enough money to keep you in Smokehouse Almonds the rest of your life.

And let me just say: Most Orioles' fans believe you've earned a big payday. You've given this town a lot of pleasure already.

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(As much as I've enjoyed watching you hit home runs, my favorite Chris Davis moment remains the time in Boston when you didn't hit anything. It was May 2012, a surreal Sunday game with the Red Sox that lasted 17 innings. You went 0-for-8 at the plate, but you pitched two scoreless innings and came out the winning pitcher. Epic stuff.)

Some people think the multi-year, multimillion-dollar salaries paid to professional athletes are outrageous. But whenever I hear that outrage — these days, it's usually a Bernie Sanders supporter who expresses it — I always say: "If the players don't get it, the owners do," and that usually ends the squawking.

So I'm not getting into a debate about how much Chris Davis is worth, and whether anyone should make $20 million a year for playing baseball. We are way past that.

I'm writing today to say this:

It's been a rough year in Baltimore, brother, and the last thing this town needs is to lose its biggest baseball slugger.

I'm asking you to think about your place in this community and what it would mean to your fellow Baltimoreans, at the end of such a dreary year, to see you pack your bags and your "Hulk juice" blender and drive away from the Queen City of the Patapsco Drainage Basin.

I realize this isn't entirely up to you.

The owner of the Orioles has to step up in an unprecedented way. No one would expect you to take an unacceptable offer from an owner who has an aversion to big contracts with players. But somewhere between — oh, I don't know — $150 million and $200 million, you ought to be able to find financial security, right?

Still, $50 million is a lot of "somewhere between." If you were to take the biggest offer and leave town, few in Baltimore would have a beef with you.

Before that happens, I just want you to think about how you fit into the larger picture here.

Baltimore has a lot of problems; we didn't really need a riot to make that clear. But the unrest in the spring, following the death and burial of Freddie Gray, forced eyes wide open, and there are a lot of people who've re-upped their commitment to fixing what's broken here.

A lot of those people are millennials, like you, who've moved here in the last few years; they want to see Baltimore get to a better place. They're working in nonprofits or volunteering their time with kids or adults in transition from homelessness, incarceration or drug addiction. And, if they're not doing that, they're demanding more from City Hall. They're being engaged as citizens.

You should think of yourself not only as a power-hitting first baseman, but as an important citizen of Baltimore, someone whose example of modesty and hard work is needed here. You'd be respected and beloved, and not just because you can hit home runs, but because you made a commitment to a struggling city.

Think about what re-signing with the Orioles would say to all the doubters, the snarky and the sneering who've declared the city hopeless. If you re-signed with the Orioles, you'd be renewing your commitment — and not so much to the franchise, but to this city, this community. You'd signal affinity with the rest of us who still believe in Baltimore. You'd build a legacy rare in baseball. You might even get us back to a World Series after 33 very long years.

Please, think about it.

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