On April 19, 2010, rookie first baseman Issac Benjamin Davis made his first appearance in an MLB regular-season game for the New York Mets. What did Ike do in his first at-bat at Citi Field versus the Chicago Cubs' Randy Wells? Drop one into right field.
Oh, and received one of the biggest ovations in recent Mets history. It was a single, so simple a hit that if it were made by any other man on that roster, they would have received a standard applause.
But this wasn't just another one of the bums from Queens. No, this was Ike Davis in his first major league at-bat getting a single, and in doing so, giving Mets fans a hope for the future.
Was it a premature celebration? Probably. How many times have players been hyped up so much only to see their careers and fame spiral downwards when they aren't as good as we thought they were?
But Davis proved that the Mets didn't have a Ryan Leaf on their hands. He finished the 2010 campaign with 19 home runs, 71 RBI, 73 runs and 33 doubles.
Not only did the Mets now have a player who got the fans excited again with his bat, but also they now had a fielding magician. Throughout the year we saw Davis go over the dugout barricade to snag foul balls, a technique he perfected in the minors. How else do you explain the upside-down Davis bobblehead, courtesy of the Brooklyn Cyclones?
Eleven months later, we are days away from the first game of the 2011 campaign, and Mets fans have a few reasons to smile. R.A. Dickey will be looking to ride his knuckleball to more success this year. Angel Pagan was stellar last year and will once again patrol center, thanks to the move by Carlos Beltran to right. And then there's Ike.
I was never one for predictions, mostly due to the fact that when I make them, they end up dead wrong. Going outside of my comfort zone here, I don't think it's too much to ask to see Davis hit for 24 to 26 homers this year.
Of Davis, Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said, “I don’t think I’ve seen a guy, pound for pound, with more pop than he’s got…It’s just a matter of him getting his reps in, seeing the league a couple times, and getting comfortable. He showed me enough last year to impress me. He’s very slick at first, a well-rounded ballplayer. If he connects, the ball will hit the Grand Canyon.”
Coming from No. 37 on the all-time home runs list, this certainly means something.
In being realistic, Mets fans have to take the good with the bad. It seems to be impossible for this team to finish above third in the NL East this year, but at least there are some signs of hope.
New management, the knuckleballing R.A. Dickey and Mike Pelfrey coming off their best seasons to date, Angel Pagan continuing to patrol center and of course, Ike Davis.
The playoffs aren't in the Mets' 2011 future, but Ike Davis is. And for that, all Mets fans should agree: We Like Ike!