When I was 18, I started dating my first real girlfriend (girls on the back of cereal boxes tend to be a bit unresponsive once mom throws the box out, after all). Things started out great; we got along swimmingly, spent every waking moment together, and started making plans to move in together. But, after some time, the cracks in our armor began to show. She tended to slack a bit when it came to accepting my meager requests to not be so irrational. Things got a bit heated, but I accepted it because of what seemed to be before the steady decline in our relationship. I looked past it all because, after all, there were obviously things I really did like about her. Unfortunately, these delusions never really quelled just how bad things really were.
My first relationship has some striking parallels to my “relationship” with one Ike Davis. Starting off as one of the more highly touted of a crop of up-and-coming first basemen in the latter first decade of the 21st century, Ike was considered to be a future star of the fledgling Mets franchise. On April 19th, 2010, Ike made his much-awaited major league debut, going 2-for-4 in a Mets win over the Cubs. He went on to post a very good rookie season, finishing 7th in Rookie of the Year voting, as well as being considered a top pick for Gold Glove award within the first baseman ranks. He struck out pretty frequently, but his 450-foot home runs to Shea Bridge were a sight to behold, harkening back memories of Darryl Strawberry. Things were starting out just great.
I (along with my fellow Met fan friends) gushed at how terrific he was, and couldn’t wait to see my new baseball man crush effortlessly cruise to many an All-Star game in the years to come. I even thought of purchasing a jersey of his, something I hardly ever do considering the price and the likelihood of me ever wearing them, considering how prone to profuse sweat I am.
The following year, I joined my first fantasy baseball league. I made a point to draft Ike as soon as conceivably possible. He had a torrid start to the 2011 season, batting .302 and getting everyone talking about his inevitable All-Star selection, despite talk from Mets’ announcers of the struggle coaches had trying to get through to him regarding his plate approach. Suddenly, Davis suffered what was thought to be a day-to-day injury, falling while tracking a pop fly, and ended up out for the entire season. I looked at it as a mild setback in him trailblazing a path to superstardom.
The 2012 season proved to be the onset of the proverbial delusional exhibition. Although he clobbered 32, no doubt “aww shucks”-inducing, home runs, he batted a depressing .227, and struck out 141 times. Each signature Ike Davis swing and miss, where you could swear his right quad detaches itself from his leg in mid-swing, had me scratching my head and wondering where we went wrong. All I wanted was to admire his ridiculous long ball proficiency, and yet I was left to throw my head into my hands and watch him nonchalantly flail at pitches closer to the Yankee Stadium strike zone than the one he was occupying in Queens.
As of press time, Ike is continuing his seeming undying quest to destroy my emotional loyalty to him. He is batting .172, and is apparently on pace for as many as 190 strikeouts for the year. Unfortunately, unlike the case of my first girlfriend, I have virtually no power in the outcome of Ike Davis’ indefinite performance slump. In this instance, it’s those damn coaches presumably tampering with his philosophy to hitting/ making me happy; like a girl’s friends convincing her that she shouldn’t be with or trust you, despite proven satisfaction rate. If it is what I’ve been led to believe (aforementioned futile coach intervention), then I will suggest what I didn’t have the foresight to apply to the situation with said girlfriend: if something is already ruined, adding to the mess will only further aid its entropy. Ike obviously has the inherent talent to be a steady contributor to the Mets’ success; whether he crashes and burns or rises above his current stagnation should be in his hands