I awoke early Saturday morning and checked Twitter to see if the Orioles had made any progress in their effort to sign free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Last I had heard the O’s were in hot pursuit of Cespedes, and I had warmed to the idea of seeing him patrol the outfield at Camden Yards. Instead, I learned that the O’s had re-signed slugger Chris Davis to a seven-year, $161 million deal.
I experienced mixed emotions about the Davis signing, equal parts pleased that the team spent big to retain one of their own free agents and concerned that this particular expenditure may not have been the wisest use of their traditionally limited resources. My thoughts soon turned to matters closer to home, and a sense of gratitude emerged.
Thank you, Baltimore Orioles, for not forcing me to explain the economic realities of baseball to my preschooler.
My son is a big Chris Davis fan. Okay, he’s a big fan in the five-year-old sense of the phrase. He has a Chris Davis bobblehead and a Chris Davis jersey (Thanks on both counts Pop-Pop). He knows about the home runs, is blissfully unaware of the strikeouts, and learned last season that even our heroes get angry and make bad choices like smashing bats. Discussing an even worse choice, like turning down $150 million from the Orioles to sign with a rival team, would have been a life lesson that rested beyond my fledgling fatherly powers of explanation.
My son’s comprehension that baseball, like life, isn’t overflowing with fairness and walk-off endings would have begun too soon had Davis (uncharacteristically) walked. The way I see it, he deserves to take a few pitches still and work the count before staring down the hard stuff further down the road. Because it preserves that opportunity for my boy, I am grateful that Davis is still in Baltimore.
It wasn’t long before I heard my little guy stomping down the stairs to begin his day. I had been processing my own thoughts about the Davis deal and hadn’t considered what to tell him about it. As he sat down beside me, I let spontaneity be my guide.
“Hey buddy, the Orioles just signed Chris Davis again.”
My initial effort was met with a blank stare. I explored a different, more simplistic angle.
“That means Chris Davis will be playing with the Orioles for a really long time,” I told him.
He paused for a moment, offered a hint of a smile, and then replied.
In the end, my son’s reaction to the news of Chris Davis staying in Baltimore wasn’t all that different from my own. It’s okay.