On March 12, the day that baseball stopped, Chris Davis was driving down Interstate 75, heading from Sarasota to Fort Myers for a spring training game the Orioles were set to play against the Minnesota Twins that evening.
Davis was summoned back to the Ed Smith Stadium complex, and a little after 3 came word that the season was on hold. It remains so.
“It’s definitely a different world that it was two weeks ago,” Davis said in a Tuesday conference call. “As far as I’m concerned, I think the most important thing right now is for everyone to stay healthy, stay safe. For those that are ill, to get healthy and get whatever treatment they can, get whatever help they can, and baseball will be back whenever we get all this behind us.
“Baseball is a huge part of my life, and a huge part of a lot of people’s lives. Right now, the most important thing is to deal with this virus and put it past us.”
As the team’s player representative, Davis is checking in with teammates and “doing everything that we can to help one another stay ready.” He’s speaking with manager Brandon Hyde and athletic trainer Brian Ebel, and the coaches.
“I feel like we’re in a good place as far as the circumstances that we’ve been presented,” he said. “We’re in as good a place as we can be. I’m looking forward to get things rolling, but right now we’re in that idle waiting period.”
Davis is in his Dallas home. He has a modest home gym and said that’s fine for what he’s doing. The only positive is being able to spend time with his wife and three young daughters.
When spring training was halted, the first baseman was hitting .467 with three home runs and nine RBIs.
“Although it was short, and I would have liked to have continued playing and continue to get an opportunity to go out there and have game at-bats, it was nice to see the work that I’ve put in this offseason was producing some results. For me, that was a positive.”
There’s talk that when baseball resumes, it will be in empty stadiums. Davis played in the only major league game without fans on April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards after the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
“I think it’s something that I’ve prepared myself for, hoping that we wouldn’t necessarily have to do that,” Davis said. “There are a lot of possibilities, a lot of different scenarios that are on the table.
“I’d love to play as many games as possible, but I also want people to be safe. I want people to feel comfortable being around other people, being around other fans in the ballpark.
“I want the guys to feel safe on the field. I don’t look forward to doing that, but we’re going to have to do some things that are a little unfamiliar, at least for the foreseeable future. It’s still relatively early. We still have a lot of unknowns, a lot of things that are up in the air. We’ve talked about it. It’s definitely a possibility.”
Major League Baseball and the union have discussed a compact schedule with fewer off days and more doubleheaders. As for a length, Davis isn’t sure.
“I’m hopeful and I’m optimistic that we can play as many games as possible,” Davis said. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like … I’m just trying to be patient. I’m trying to stay positive and stay in a good mindset and prepare myself to play as many games as possible.
“I don’t think there’s a number that I could put on it that would really make me feel … any number of games for me is worth it.”