“It’s not something I wasn’t really expecting, but it was tough,” said Davis about the fans booing him. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
I grew up in Baltimore, haunting the old Memorial Stadium and going to games early to watch batting practice. Legendary hitters like Eddie Murray and Ken Singleton shared the practice with mediocre batters like Mark Belanger and Rick Dempsey.
They worked and worked and worked. Belanger's average was never great, but it also never dipped as low as Chris Davis' last season. When Mr. Davis signed his last contract, he was coming off some good times. But those good times are gone, erased by a series of mishaps at the plate and a perceived cavalier attitude toward adjustments last season. The other day, Mr. Davis broke the record for the most consecutive at bats without a hit (“No cheap shots on Orioles' Chris Davis,” Apr. 9). Because he also was suspended for performance enhancing drug use, his tenure in Baltimore isn't that of a great teammate, but rather of someone with a penchant for making mistakes that have cost the team.
This is the top level of sports. Like the movie said, there's no crying in baseball. Production counts as much as attitude. Had Mr. Davis agreed to a restructuring plan of his huge guaranteed salary, or taken a demotion to AAA ball to work through his ailing swing, perhaps then the fans and the press would feel more for his struggle. The this goes on, the harder it is for a fan based in Los Angeles, such as myself, to feel anything but frustration and anxiety when he comes to bat.
We cannot ignore his numbers, and Mr. Davis shouldn't try to ignore them, either. Every missed hit is a step further out of sync with an organization deep in a rebuild. Trey Mancini is ready to play first base. We've got players in the minors ready to come up to the show. Mr. Davis should step aside and perfect his swing somewhere outside of the major league lineup. If he's successful, maybe he can become a trade chip. If he's not, he's out of baseball, with a contract that pays him handsomely. Either way, Mr. Davis shouldn't be an Oriole by July. His good faith has run out. It's not on the fans, the press or even the Orioles organization to resurrect it. It's on Chris Davis.