Stuck at 37, Davis jokingly said after hitting his 38th, “Oh, I’m so happy. I can go home and sleep tonight and just eat food again. I don’t have to wake up every three hours and cry.”
Now at 39 home runs with 53 games remaining, Davis is needing 23 home runs to overtake the once-fabled number 61. He’d need to hit a home run every 2.3 games. Assuming he gets four at-bats a game, that’s one home run every 9.2 at-bats. He’s currently averaging a home run every 10.05 at-bats.
However, excluding the ten-game slump, he’s averaging a home run every 9.05 at bats. This may be optimism at it’s best, but it’s impossible not to root for a 62-spot by Davis. The 61 home runs set by Roger Maris in 1961 had seemed untouchable at one time. Since then, the record has been broken by Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.
But what do all three of those names have in common?
PEDs, of course. Though their names still stand above Maris in the record books, they will always be viewed with an asterisk.
In steps Chris Davis.
The slugger is going through his first two real full seasons of baseball, having sporadically played in his earlier years for the Texas Rangers with the reputation of a quad-A former top prospect who couldn’t handle the bigs. His power numbers have spiked this year, as he has already surpassed last year’s totals.
So what would a 62nd home run mean?
For one, that it can be done without cheating. Davis is no doubt already picking up steroid speculation. In this day and age, players are guilty until proven innocent. At a time where the Biogenesis scandal has struck down Ryan Braun and looks to claim more before all is said and done, fans of baseball deserve a home run hero that did it right, that bravely resisted PEDs and played America’s game the way it was meant to be played.
Davis deserves to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty.
PEDs are the one threat to the game of baseball. With a loose drug policy, players can legitimately give PEDs at least one go just to test the waters. But once a player is guilty even after that first time, his name is forever placed on the list of cheaters. There is no recovering from being labeled a cheater.
But there are those players out there who play the game legitimately. Davis is the poster child for all those players out there who have never delved into the wide world of PEDs.
If the Orioles first baseman can put up 62 home runs and remain clean throughout, it would be a bigger deterrent to PED use than the Joint Drug Prevention policy has been or ever could be. Leading by example takes on a whole new meaning when applied to this situation, and it’s exactly what the Orioles first baseman is doing.
Whether he knows it or not, Chris Davis is the hero that baseball needs.