Chris Davis cheering for Miguel Cabrera to win Triple Crown. Wait, what?
There must be secret meetings and camaraderie among Major League Baseball sluggers, because occasionally the friendships get out of hand. The latest chapter is Baltimore Orioles 1B Chris Davis, who leads the planet in home runs, commenting about reigning Triple Crown holder and repeat candidate Detroit Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera (according to ESPN.com)
“I hope he does do it again,” Davis said. “That would be awesome. He’s a great hitter. He deserves everything that he gets.
What?????? Um, you’re supposed to want to hit home runs. A lot of them. More than Cabrera (he currently leads 46-43). I mean, does Davis pick up the box score in the morning and hope he sees Cabrera did well? Or worse, go 0-4 and think “good thing I didn’t hit a home run today, Cabrera might make up some ground.” NO!!!
This attitude isn’t without precedent. In the 1998 single season home run chase, St. Louis Cardinals 1B Mark McGwire and Chicago Cubs OF Sammy Sosa yukked it up after McGwire hit #62 off of Sosa’s Cubs to break Roger Maris’ record.
Are these guys just being nice in public and secretly have voodoo dolls in their locker of the opposing player? Or are they all really that friendly? I get that there is a “fraternity” of ballplayers, particularly those with the same craft (pitching, hitting, speed, etc.) where you pass on knowledge for the betterment of the game. But I draw the line at “hoping” another player passes me in a stat in which I am leading the league. Davis should WANT the home run title, he should WANT to be the guy the goes into the record book as preventing the first ever Triple Crown!
To Davis credit, his follow up comments touched on team performance and not focusing on stats for himself, so I think he’s not too far off (same article):
“My goal is not to go out there and keep Miguel Cabrera from winning the Triple Crown. It’s to do everything I can to put us in position to win, whether that means I hit 10 more home runs or two more home runs. I’ve had a productive year so far, but if we don’t make the playoffs, it doesn’t really mean a lot.”
But players pay attention to stats, and hitting home runs is an important stat, and only helps your team. So I still fundamentally disagree with the “hoping” part.