Here’s a roundup of what national media outlets are saying about the Orioles at the All-Star break. The Orioles have five players, including three starters, in Tuesday’s midsummer classic.
** Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes about the reaction of the media and fans in general to first baseman Chris Davis’ power outburst this season. In the shadow of the Steroid Era, some are skeptical, but Morosi emphasized Davis’ attitude and handling of the media scrutiny.
"I’ve interviewed Davis numerous times over the past few years," Morosi wrote. "I like him personally. But I was especially impressed with him Monday, while he faced a sensitive line of inquiry. He never once snapped at a reporter. He was witty and funny, remarkably at ease. He chose not to brag about his 33 home runs last year – proof that this isn't, contrary to popular belief, a one-year aberration."
** Davis and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper could have created a dangerous middle of the order combination for the Nationals, if Washington had pursued its interest in the former Texas Rangers farmhand, The Washington Post writes.
"[Adam] LaRoche eventually signed with the Nationals for two years and $16 million. LaRoche’s first season was cut short to 43 games because of a torn left labrum and surgery, and Michael Morse emerged with a breakout season and filled it at first base," The Post's James Wagner wrote. "LaRoche then recovered and produced a 30-home run, 100-RBI, Gold Glove season in 2012. At some point in 2011, however, the Nationals were also highly interested in Davis and loved his potential, according to a team source."
** CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller writes that Davis’ popularity entering the All-Star Game puts him in the same breath as names like Aaron, Griffey and Ripken.
"I thought going into it it would be an honor just to be selected," Davis said.
Instead, he won in a landslide. Talk about a mandate. Voters did everything but order him caviar and champagne.
As the appreciative Davis correctly noted, he got so many votes that it wasn't only the Baltimore precinct checking in with an overwhelming total. From sea to shining sea, the votes poured in.
"Everybody across America noticed," Davis says. "It's an awesome feeling."
** Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan surveyed All-Stars on what they considered to be the true home run record after Davis’ comments that Roger Maris’ 61 is the true record.
From two-time home run champion Jose Bautista to slugger Prince Fielder to Davis’ friend and teammate Adam Jones, 14 players said that no matter Bonds’ ties to performance-enhancing drugs,the record is his. Only one, Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist, said he would consider 61 the record.
The near-agreement of the players included a common phrase: “He hit them over the fence.” Which is to say even if Bonds’ alleged steroid regimen helped turn him into a baseball superman, the sheer achievement of hitting 73 home runs in 2001 was too magnificent to pretend like it didn’t happen.
In fact, in an open-air room where the temperature might have pushed three digits, Davis seemed to hardly sweat. Not like all the fat sportswriters, anyway, who left puddles. Davis glowed and dabbed. His forearms were shaved smooth, along with his chest. He’d let the hair on his face grow, however.
He looks like a home run champion. He always did, which you suppose was part of the frustration of watching Chris Davis, of employing Chris Davis, and certainly of being Chris Davis.
** Paul White from USA Today writes about the emergence of third baseman Manny Machado this season and how he fits in with other young stars Harper and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Cruising through a media day alternating English and Spanish, Machado, who dumped his Twitter account after joining Baltimore last season, is more like Trout than Harper off the field, soft-spoken but savvy. On the field, Twitter or not, Machado can do at third base what Trout and Harper do regularly in the outfield — bring fans to their feet and fill up social media.
A group of scouts and front office personnel who gathered to watch Sunday's Futures Game entered into the Harper-Trout discussion. The consensus was shrugs and stammers. Translation: How can you decide?
** The Miami Herald caught up with Machado, a native son, and compared his path with that of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
A year ago at this time, the two went head-to-head in the 2012 Futures Game in Kansas City, Mo. Fernandez was playing for the Single A Greensboro (N.C.) Grasshoppers at the time. Machado was the starting shortstop for the Double A Bowie (Md.) Bay Sox.
One summer later, they’re back at All-Star Week and playing in the big game together.