Archive for September, 2012

Chris Davis: A First Baseman In A Pennant Race

Posted: September 18, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews, MLB
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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper – US Presswire

So far, the 2012 Major League Baseball season has been filled with a ton of excitement. One of the reasons for this new found excitement was Commissioner Bud Selig expanding the playoffs by adding a second Wild Card team. There are new markets that haven’t been relevant in terms of the postseason in years that are now in contention. One of those teams is the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles haven’t been to the postseason since 1997, but under manager Buck Showalter, they are in the running for a playoff spot, and potentially, taking the American League East away from the New York Yankees! Despite their run differential issues, they have a belief in themselves that they can win a close game. They have one of the best closers in Jim Johnson and a solid offense, which gets major contributions from my latest interview.

Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers in 2008. For his years in Texas, he was known as a power hitter, but also as a player who struck out numerous times. In July of 2011, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles along with pitcher Tommy Hunter.

Now, Davis is making his stride with the Orioles. As of September 17th, he is hitting .264 with 26 home runs and 70 RBI’s. He is hitting .319 in the month of September as he tries to help Baltimore take the next step.  He also has a win this year out of the bullpen in a 17 inning game back in May. On my show last week, I predicted Baltimore taking a Wild Card spot and Davis could be a small reason why!

Here is my interview with Chris about his faith, his time with Texas, what he felt after the trade, and Baltimore’s newfound success in 2012:

1. Chris, how did you come to know the Lord?

Chris: I started going to church with my family when I was young and was baptized at the age of 6 in the First Baptist Church of Longview.

2. Who have been some of your Christian role models both on and off the field?

C: My grandfather (Papa my mom’s father) was one of the biggest Christian influences in my life.  He passed away a few years ago but just the way he treated others and the way he lived his life were and still are an inspiration to me.  On the field I would have to say David Murphy and Josh Hamilton have been the two biggest influences on me.  They both taught me how to play the game for God’s glory and how to enjoy the process and not focus so much on the results.  It’s not about statistics; winning and losing but about how you handle yourself and what kind of image you present to the people who are watching.

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse and how has it exemplified your walk with the Lord?

C:  I have many favorites but I really enjoy Hebrews 12:1-2. (I actually have it tattooed on my right rib cage.)  It is a constant reminder that we will face many things in life that may be difficult and hard for us to understand but anything that we encounter Christ has already experienced and overcome.  We must remember to put our faith in the Lord and continue to persevere.

4. Talk about how God has used you in the locker room in terms of possible fellowship opportunities with your teammates.

C:  I try to lead primarily by example.  I think that it is crucial to walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk.  Many people will not believe what you say if you do not practice what you preach.  I try to control my language, my emotions, and carry myself as a man of God.  We have a number of guys who attend chapel on Sundays and we have actually had a few bible studies throughout the season.

5.  Last season, you were traded from the Rangers to the Orioles. Can you tell us about how you felt at at time and how God helped you get through it?

C: I went through a wide range of emotions.  I was excited to get the opportunity to play everyday in the big leagues with another team but I was also sad to leave behind so many friends.  I think God had been slowly preparing me for the trade for the past few years.  I had grown so much in my relationship with Him and had really learned how to trust Him and not lean on my own understanding.  That was crucial because I went through so many new things after being traded.

6. The Orioles are one of the surprise teams in baseball this year. What can we expect from the O’s down the stretch?

C: You can expect us to continue to play hard and to finish up strong.  Obviously not a lot of people picked us to do this well this year but we felt that we had a strong and versatile team in Spring Training and we believed in each other.  When you focus on the task at hand and worry about meeting your expectations and not others’ anything is possible.

Like I said at the beginning, the Orioles are a team that really feels that they are never out of a game. When doing this interview with Mr. Davis, what stood out to me was the fact that he talked about when you worry about meeting your own expectations, anything can be possible!

This reminded me of the verse New York Jets’ quarterback Tim Tebow tweeted out on Sunday, which comes from the gospel of Matthew when Jesus talks about a rich man entering the Kingdom of God. The disciples then ask Him if a rich man can’t enter, then who can get saved?

Jesus responds: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26)

The Orioles and even the Oakland Athletics are teams that do not spend like the Yankees, Red Sox, or other teams in the big markets do. However, they put their sight on their own goals and not how everyone expected them to do. With God, we as Christians, need to feel that with God, we can do anything we set our minds too. If we do succeed at those goals, we like Chris, need to continue to give God the glory in everything we do because He is Holy and Almighty!

Even as a Yankees’ writer, I find myself pulling for the Orioles and I wish Chris and his team the best of luck the rest of the way!