Davis' rough start gets rougher as fans boo - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Davis’ rough start gets rougher as fans boo

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—The Baltimore Orioles owe Chris Davis nearly $110 million for the remainder of his seven-year, $161-million contract.

With Mike Elias in charge as the club’s general manager, John and Louis Angelos running the team because of their father’s declining health, fans wonder how long the Orioles will keep their struggling first baseman on the field.

After the first week of the 2019 season, Davis is hitless in 17 at-bats and has struck out 11 times. Dating back to mid-September, Davis hasn’t had a hit in his last 38 at-bats.

For the most part, Oriole fans have been supportive of Davis. In 2014, the year after he led the major leagues with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs, they didn’t boo him when he slumped to a .194 average.

After the 2015 season when Davis rebounded and hit a league-leading 47 homers and signed the team-record contract, fans were overjoyed, but his performance has gone south.

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Last year, he had what many consider the worst season in major league history, hitting .168 with 192 strikeouts in 128 games. As he did after the 2017 season, when he slumped to .215 with 195 strikeouts in 128 games, Davis vowed to change. However, this year has started off even worse for the 33-year-old.

It reached new lows when many in the Opening Day crowd of 44,182 booed him heartily after each of his three strikeouts and sarcastically cheered Hanser Alberto, who pinch-hit for Davis in the eighth.

“It’s not something that I was really expecting,” Davis said of the reaction.

“But, it was tough. At the same time, I heard it a lot last year, and rightfully so. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I understand the frustration. Nobody’s more frustrated than I am, especially a day like today, the kind of game that we were having, really had them on their heels the whole game and it was a frustrating day for me personally and the team collectively. But you’ve got to move on.”

Davis addressed the frustrations of 2018 at January’s FanFest, and three weeks later when he reported for spring training. He’ll have to revisit them after a start like he’s had.

‘It makes it a little tougher,” Davis said.

“Especially having to hear about it all the time. That was really my main goal going into spring training, really to turn the page and just focus on what lies ahead and try to forget about what had happened last year. It’s been tougher to start the season, but there’s a lot of baseball left to play. I’d be foolish if I just started wallowing in my own self-pity and feeling sorry for myself. I don’t think anybody’s feeling sorry for me right now. I think people are ready to see me turn it around, and I’m ready to turn it around.”

Since Davis was traded from Texas to the Orioles in July 2011, Buck Showalter had been his manager. Now, it’s Brandon Hyde.

“I’m seeing a guy that is giving a great effort,” Hyde said. “It’s just not happening right now. We wanted to get him off to a good start. It’s not the start I’m sure he wanted to get off to, but I’m going to continue to play him and I’m going to continue to support him and find the right matchups for him to try to get him off the schneid here a little bit early. But he’s battling and being a great teammate and not taking his offense to his defense.”

Alex Cobb, who started the opener, said Davis has the support of his teammates.

“Chris works really hard,” Cobb said.

“He’s a great guy. I mean, he really is. He’s one of the better teammates that I’ve had in my time in the big leagues, and I know he cares so much. To feel that in front of your home fans, I mean, I can’t even imagine. I do feel for him. I understand the fans’ frustration, as well, but nobody’s got a better outlook.”

Hyde believes his relationship with Davis is strong.

“I have a lot of conversations with him,” Hyde said. “We talk regularly. That stuff happens during the game. I haven’t been around here, so I wasn’t aware of fan reaction. I’m not really concerned about it. I’m going to support the guys on the club. It is what it is. I’m going to continue to stay positive with him and continue to support him as well as the whole coaching staff. We’re there for him, and we’re working as hard as we can to get off to the best start he can.”

When Davis was asked about Hyde’s support, he bristled.

“I would expect my manager to be behind me, no matter who it was,” Davis said. “Obviously, I’m going be here for the foreseeable future, and I’m a guy that’s been here for a while. So I know Brandon is behind me, I know the whole coaching staff, I know my teammates are behind me. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.”

42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Le Merlu

    April 5, 2019 at 7:31 am

    A good guy is not a profession, though.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 5, 2019 at 8:02 am

    “It’s not something that I was really expecting,” Davis said of the reaction.

    Really? Not expecting a few boos? That’s funny. But don’t worry Crush, in a couple more weeks, there won’t be anyone at the park to boo you!

    A big donut for 38 ‘eh? Maybe it’s time to break out the live chicken? (seriously, maybe it is)

  3. chico salmon

    April 5, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Chris and his wife have been awesome in giving back to the community. My grandson was in the neonatal intensive care at U of MD hospital and benefitted from equipment that Chris purchased and donated. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a great guy. That said, he is 0-38 going back to last year. 0-38?.

    Give him until June 1. If it continues, DFA him. Great guy – now a bad player. This is a negative associated issue the Orioles don’t need during this rebuild. It’s a drag to go to games (I was there yesterday) and hear the boos for Chris.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 5, 2019 at 8:46 am

      I’m glad to hear that your grandson was helped by the Davis’ generosity, Chico.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    April 5, 2019 at 8:11 am

    As BB’s resident Davis apologist, it’s become evident that this poor man just needs to leave. The Angelos brothers and Elias can’t possibly want to deal to with this all year. I’ve never heard so much booing at Camden Yards as I did yesterday. It was genuinely painful to watch the sorry figure of my kids favorite player slump back to the dugout. All of the good vibes surrounding this teams start went up in flames yesterday. And for the next 30 years we’ll be referring to that as the Chris Davis game. Eat the contract. If they can come up with some kind of Bobby Bonilla deal, so be it, but this needs to stop.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 5, 2019 at 8:45 am

      There is deferred money until 2032, Bancells.

  5. PC in OC

    April 5, 2019 at 8:29 am

    The best move the Orioles can make now, ( if they can ) is to send Chris to the Minor’s, to work things out.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 5, 2019 at 8:44 am

      He would have to pass waivers and agree to accept an assignment. He won’t do that, PC.

    • Bhoffman1

      April 5, 2019 at 10:50 am

      Obviously he will pass waivers and maybe he will agree rather then sit on the bench or embarrass himself on the field

      • Jbigle1

        April 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm

        He’ll take his money and go home just like you or anyone else would. He’d be free to sign with anyone at that point.

  6. Birdman

    April 5, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Who knows what happened to Chris Davis – how does a two time home run champion deteriorate into the absolute worst hitter in all of baseball? Whatever the explanation, whether its mental, physical, or a combination of both, the reality is there before our eyes every game. Coming off one of the worst seasons in baseball history, and with attendance declining for several years, the Orioles can’t afford to let this situation fester much longer.

  7. Haarluther

    April 5, 2019 at 8:51 am

    I’ve seen it for a long time. Davis needs to try just hitting for contact and he keeps pulling his head out and not following the pitches with his eyes all the way to the bat….
    I hope he sees this message and it does some good. I really like him but he needs to start hitting or he needs to be benched regardless of what he’s making because it’s not helping on offense.

  8. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    April 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Hyde is pinch hitting for him based upon matchups. Alberto came through with a hit. Buck would never have done that. Palmer yesterday repeatedly said Davis isn’t tracking the ball. His last at bat he swung at two pitches way out of the strike zone. I don’t think think they will be that patient with him. It’s just a matter of time before they cut ties with him.

  9. Fareastern89

    April 5, 2019 at 9:04 am

    The O’s coaches must be poring over videos of Davis’ swings to find an answer. If they can’t find one after several months of study — or if Davis simply can’t make the necessary adjustments — they really need to accept reality and move on for everyone’s sake. In the meantime, just get to the park early and practice bunting every day. Would that really be more damaging to Davis’ pride than 0-38?

  10. Beeb

    April 5, 2019 at 10:05 am

    This has truly been a mystery. What we have learned is that he has not worked as hard at his craft as he says. That he physically does not look as fit. Dad Bod evident. But we don’t know why he is not “tracking the ball” or if medication has something to do with it. Will we ever know? He is like the tenured professor. You cannot fire him but you can put his office in the basement and hope he quits.

  11. Crabman51

    April 5, 2019 at 10:10 am

    No, “At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters”, doesn’t cut it. What counts is production. His contract and lack of production is a real drag on the O’s. If he does not turn it around soon he needs to be unloaded by the club in a “fire sale” to another team as a part of the “rebuild”.

    • CalsPals

      April 5, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Who would want him, we have to pay most of his contract anyway & no one would give up a semi decent prospect for him, BUT I agree w/you, just don’t see him on anyone’s want list….

  12. Mike1966

    April 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

    I’ve missed only two Openers since 1969, it snowed in ‘75 and the infamous “Hi Wind” postponement in ‘97), and I don’t recall ever hearing as many boos as I did yesterday for Chris Davis. He doesn’t even swing. Sad. On another note, the box score reports a sellout. I’ve never seen so many empty seats at an Opener. Not a good sign for rest of year.

  13. PC in OC

    April 5, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Rich, What do the Orioles have to lose. If they want to go forward and increase their fan base and Chris keeps striking out with men on base, They will be forced to eat his salary. If Chris is claimed, Can’t the Orioles exercise it’s rescission option. If they can and with all the boo’s I heard yesterday and the way I saw him walk back to the dugout and Chris is honest with him self and he really wants to work things out, In my opinion, He would except the assignment.

  14. Tony Paparella

    April 5, 2019 at 10:17 am

    I think he should try just making contact as one observer said.I certainly don’t know what the problems are and if the baseball gods can’t figure it out who can? Palmer has observations so why don’t people get Davis to work on these things. It can’t hurt. I keep thinking of slugger Chris Cater who completely fell apart and is out if the game and this is the same scenario. Apparently they think he is trying very hard but his approach seems exactly the same as always which makes me wonder what they have him working on. This has been going on for at least 2 years and there is no new look to him in the batters box.. That is what confuses me about Davis and the staff over looking the situation.

  15. BARay

    April 5, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Maybe the O’s will keep trotting him out to get booed until Chris says no mas and asks to negotiate a deal. If I was O’s I don’t know what else I’d do. Either he keeps getting booed and asks out or he improves. Or he has many more years of getting booed to look forward to experiencing. Really sad, though. For everybody. He seems to be a decent guy, but there is absolutely something off here.

  16. Orial

    April 5, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Here’s my shot at giving Davis advice–get some film of Bryce Harper. Watch Harper bend his knees,lean in and focus at the ball,hold his bat in “strike zone mode”. Harper is poised to attack the ball. Davis looks like he’s ready to flail at a golf ball. Davis stands upright with his bat a mile out of the strike zone. That’s my worthless 2 cents.

  17. Smitron

    April 5, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I’m really kind of sick of hearing about how Davis’ struggles have no significance in the big picture when it comes to the development of this team.

    Chris Davis is the highest paid longest tenured member of the team and he’s no longer a major league hitter. He’s in the lineup nearly every day creating a black hole where production is needed. How can we say this doesn’t effect the development of the other parts of the team. How many opportunities to get better are lost because Davis hits .000?

  18. Bhoffman1

    April 5, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I wasn’t expecting it. That says it all. Mr denial. What were you expecting. Cheers

  19. Bhoffman1

    April 5, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Getting off Davis for a second they have no ties to Wright.He has been bad for too long and even though his stuff is decent obviously he doesn’t have the head to pitch at least here. Cut ties with him already please.

    • Bancells Moustache

      April 5, 2019 at 11:35 am

      Even better observation, for Christ sake don’t bring him into a high leverage situation when your above average starter has plenty left in the tank in what was really the only game of the season you need to win. Hyde should have let Cobb pitch his way out of that. I’m putting this one on a rookie manager getting jumpy and pulling a guy too soon.

    • Bhoffman1

      April 5, 2019 at 11:49 am

      I think pulling Cobb made sense since he was coming off a injury. Bringing in Wright made no sense.

  20. Schwarzstop

    April 5, 2019 at 11:39 am

    A couple of things… First – 44,000? I guessed 30,000. There must have been 14,000 people in line at Boogs for the whole game because they weren’t in their seats! Second – I’m not a numbers guy, but some consideration must be given to Davis’ +++ Defense! Again this year, in my eyes, he’s a Gold Glove First Baseman! I’m not blind to his sad sad sad Offense, but I remain hopeful with new coaching staff, he’ll bust out of this historic sadness! And finally – I am embarrassed at the “fans” of this team!!! I’ve been a fan for 61 years, I was born wearing an Oriole cap (Mom made sure it had a soft brim). I have seen the great and the not so great! They are my team, win or lose! And I have never NEVER booed a member of my team at the stadium. In the comfort of my home, I’ll cuss, holler, turn the channel… but at the stadium, for the Orioles, anything loud is a cheer or a call for beer! I voiced my frustration with Davis and Wright with my seat buddies and neighbors

    • Schwarzstop

      April 5, 2019 at 11:48 am

      But booing for one of our own is just plain rude! You might as well be cheering for the Yankees! Maybe I’m just old, but respect of the team is part of being a fan AND, while I’m on the subject, Nats fans booing Bryce Harper during the player introductions when the Nats ran a highlight of his career in DC… classless. He deserved a hearty round of applause to begin with for appreciation and THEN he’s a Phillie! When Manny comes to town in June, is he gonna get booed? I sure hope we’re better than that, but with the way the stadium of fans reacted yesterday, I’m not so sure! Climbing down off soapbox…

      • Orial

        April 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm

        But if They DON’T boo fans/media around the country would be saying–“how can they NOT boo him?”

    • Mike1966

      April 5, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      You’re right! 44,000 ? I’ve never seen so many empty seats at an Opener. Embarrassing. It’s only going to get worse. Sad to hear boos for home players, but must admit I booed “Glassjaw” Davis and Reggie Jackson during their brief Oriole tenure.

  21. Beeb

    April 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Schwarzstop, you must be a lot older then I am, because at 58, I am fine with fans booing him. There is a reason why he is unable to put the bat in the ball…and it is him.

    • Bancells Moustache

      April 5, 2019 at 3:59 pm

      I agree. If this was college or an era where the players paychecks were the same as the cop sitting in the dugout I would be more lenient, but if you are being compensated 22 mil a year, and I have to pay 10 bucks for a can of Budweiser to watch you, you’re gonna feel the fire. (full disclosure, I didn’t boo Davis yesterday, out of respect for his prior accomplishments and out of pity. Mike Wright, on the other hand, I let it rain down…)

    • Camden Brooks

      April 5, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      I’m 53, and would never boo a current Oriole for poor performance.

    • CalsPals

      April 5, 2019 at 5:36 pm

      I’m 58 and wouldn’t boo any current O’s as well, is there such thing as a Balmer Cheer?

    • Bhoffman1

      April 5, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      Exactly beeb
      , for 22mil a year and the way he has performed now for over two seasons and actually getting worse every single fan should boo him. This is a sport but also a business and his performance and ability to not change his approach to hitting and denial of how bad he is deserves more then booing.

  22. BirdsCaps

    April 5, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    It’s a shame that it’s come to this and booing is a bit overboard for under performance. However, maybe the boos will lead to the front office releasing him in the near future.

  23. PA Bird Lover

    April 5, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    I was not there. I no longer can make the trek. I’ve been a fan since 1954. I’m 75 and was 10 on that opening day. A full season ticket holder since 1980 until Cal retired and live 50 miles above Harrisburg Pa. There were games over those days that the 2 hour drive was

    • PA Bird Lover

      April 5, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Miserable. I never ever booed a current player. I did boo Mussina when he became a visitor.
      I get pissed at Davis, I wonder why the hell he doesn’t bunt or poke towards 3rd . I also hope he had his eyes lasered. And, I wonder if he hasn’t tried for permission to take, once again, the medication for jumpy ness.

  24. Bhoffman1

    April 5, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Just see that the O’s acquired Dan Straily not super exciting but I would have assumed that we would now finally part ways with Wright. Instead Jackson who looked great in Spring training and wasn’t given a chance to play was designated. Don’t get this move.

  25. Hallbe62

    April 5, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Count me as one who thought Davis would bounce back and have a decent season this year. He still may. But it sure doesn’t look good at the moment, and honestly hasn’t looked good in a while.

    You can be a stand up, all-american guy, who has simply lost his ability to hit major league pitching.

  26. CalsPals

    April 6, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Walmart is hiring greeters…..

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