Monday, April 19, 2010

Mets fans shouldn't look to Davis for salvation

So a Mets team struggling for success and validation brings its can't miss prospect to the big leagues and the New York baseball world snaps to attention. Sound familiar?

The 4-8 Mets called up hotshot first baseman Ike Davis for a much needed shot of adrenaline and to keep their fan base from defecting. Davis was having a fantastic start to the season with the team's AAA affiliate, batting .364 with 2 home runs and four ribbies in 10 games. I'm sure he would have been called up to the big-league team eventually later in the year. But I'm troubled that the Mets are bringing him up now with the team on the ropes just two weeks into the season and the manager on the hottest seat in baseball.

It reminds me of the Mets bringing up a young Darryl Strawberry in 1983, with Dwight Gooden following the next year, to carry the franchise. The two young superstars were destined for the Hall of Fame, so said all the baseball experts. Both Strawberry and Gooden initially fulfilled those high expectations, winning Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards. But they eventually wilted under the weight of those expectations, succumbing to the enormous pressure, turning to drugs and alcohol to cope and shortchanging their once-promising careers.

I'm wishing a better fate for Davis. But for that to happen, Mets fans, the media and even the Mets themselves need to guard against looking to Davis for salvation. It's ok for the fan base to get excited about what Davis represents for the future. But don't expect him to immediately turn things around. That's way too much pressure on a young player in the big city and we have seen how badly that can turn out.

Thanks to slgckgc via Wikipedia for the photo.

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