A slug­ger who no longer can hit

The Week (US) - - 10 News -

Chris Davis may have just had the worst sea­son of any ev­ery­day base­ball player in his­tory, said Stephanie Ap­stein in Sports Il­lus­trated. Af­ter the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles’ first base­man led the league with 53 home runs in 2013 and 47 more in 2015, he was re­warded with one of the most lu­cra­tive deals ever: $161 mil­lion over seven years. In the three sea­sons since, he’s looked like a su­per­hero robbed of his pow­ers. “I have no clue what I’m do­ing at the plate,” says Davis, 32. He just posted the worst bat­ting aver­age in mod­ern MLB his­tory for a reg­u­lar player (.168), with more than twice as many strike­outs as hits. “Fail­ure fol­lows me around daily,” he says, and he thinks about it ob­ses­sively. Noth­ing changed about his swing, his physique, or his prac­tice rou­tine. He just couldn’t hit. Raised by a stoic Texan father who dragged him to the bat­ting cage even af­ter great games, Davis isn’t in­clined to be self-pity­ing. Yet at one point dur­ing his sea­son-long slump, he found him­self be­hind the wheel with “tears just fall­ing from my eyes.” He broke down to his wife and asked her whether his fail­ure was God pun­ish­ing him for his sins. “Am I blind to some­thing that I’m ha­bit­u­ally do­ing? Do you see any­thing in me that needs to be brought to light?” No one, least of all Davis, has been able to an­swer these ques­tions.

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