The Baltimore Orioles have had a great first half of the season thus far and one of the biggest reasons is the emergence of Chris Davis as a legitimate Triple Crown contender. Professional baseball has apparently become a sport where you are a victim of your own individual success as fans all over baseball have begun accusing Davis of Performance Enhancing Drug use because of his “out of nowhere” success.
Believe it or not, some Orioles’ fans have even come out and stated to us on Twitter that they bet Davis is using PED’s because he has never showed success like this before.
It is hard to fathom a sport where a player can basically not have a breakout year without being accused of taking steroids or PED’s. The unfortunate part of this is that it is not solely the players fault, but MLB has their hand in this circumstance from letting PED use go on for so long back in the late 80’s to the early 2000’s. Despite the fact that baseball does have the toughest testing policies on players in professional sports, the underlying suspicion of a player’s success is still “I wonder if he using PED’s?”
This question has already begun for Davis, although the media is not really doing this, but thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook, it is not hard to locate these accusations from fans after Davis blasts a 440 ft home run. In fact, just this past Wednesday as the Orioles were taking on the Detroit Tigers, Davis launched two home runs, including a monster shot in the ninth for his MLB leading 26thhomer of the season and immediately our Orioles101 Twitter account blew up with mostly non-Orioles fans simply stating:
“No question Chris Davis is on steroids, you have to be to hit this many home runs so quickly.” (We refrain from putting the user’s Twitter handle on this)
It is understandable that a player will be under suspicion by fans when they are seemingly having an unbelievable year, especially when that player does not play for “your” team, but whatever happened to someone being innocent until proven guilty?
Not that Chris Davis needs anyone to back him up, because he has nothing that needs backing up, but let’s take a look at his past and attributes that have contributed to his great year because his performance this year could be seen as just the next trend in the chart of his career.
First, what most of these “accusers” are complaining about is the amount of home runs Davis has hit thus far this season, but if people would pay attention, they would see some of the baseball factors that are going into his great start. For the first time in his career, Davis is coming to the ballpark knowing exactly what position he is playing and that he will be in the lineup no matter who is on the mound that day. That is huge for any guy, whether a home run hitter or a speedster, if a player knows that he will be in the lineup, he is going to have more confidence at the plate because a 0-4 day is not going to bench him for the next game.
Another contributor to these home runs has been Davis’s ability to lay off bad pitches. Bloomberg Sports did a report earlier this season showing how much more selective Davis has become at the plate this season and it is obvious to the naked eye how much better he has been at not chasing pitches. When a player is not swinging at bad pitches, he is going to find himself in better hitter's counts and thus getting better pitchers to hit, once pitchers realize the hitter is not going to chase pitches outside the strikezone.
Some have stated that his high number of RBI already this season is another signal of PED use, and these people are morons. Other than the 26 times Chris Davis has driven in himself for an RBI, the other 44 meant someone had to be on base for him to even have a chance to drive them in. Want a reason for the high amount of 66 RBI for Chris Davis so far this season? How about the fact that the four guys routinely hitting in front of him are either hitting over .300 or slightly below! It is much easier to knock guys in when they are getting on base at such a high rate.
Finally we come to the extremely uneducated fan who says “he has never shown this type of power before.” If only people would do a little bit of homework they would see that Davis has shown this kind of power before, in fact all but two years of his career. Davis has always been a big strong guy with power and plate discipline was always his issue, which we touched on before, but it is not like he just all of the sudden bulked up. Let's not forget that Davis hit 33 home runs last year in just 139 games, he hit 21 dingers in 113 games in 2009 and 17 long balls in just 80 games in 2008 in his rookie season with the Texas Rangers. What about his minor league career? A home run hitter by far as he hit 15 homers in 69 games in 2006 and 36 home runs in 129 games in 2007.
This is where it gets really fun, in 2008, Davis hit 17 home runs in 80 games with the Texas Rangers, but he also hit 23 homers in 77 minor league games for a total of 40 in 157 games played in 2008 among all levels.
So please spare us the idea that Davis has never shown this kind of power before because the guy is a proven power hitter who puts up high home run totals without playing everyday and now he is getting that chance to play every single day and his numbers are showing it.
It is a free country, so you can believe what you want, but do not simply make accusations of a player simply because he is having a breakout year, especially when his past shows he had the potential to do this.
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