Chris Davis was officially named the 2013 Most Valuable Oriole on Sunday. I guess that’s what happens when you break the franchise record for homer runs -- with 53 -- and drive in a major league-best 138 runs.
Yeah, it’s been a pretty good season for Davis. He received all but one first place vote from the media that covers the team. Adam Jones got that one. Jones finished second overall and Manny Machado third. Chris Tillman also received some votes.
Here’s an excerpt from Davis’ news conference:
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“It’s been a really fun year for me personally, a little disappointing at the end, obviously, not making the postseason. Just to be on a winning team, I think a lot of guys have had successful years not on winning teams and it’s been bittersweet. For me to be on a team that was really in it ‘til the last couple weeks and have the year I’ve had has been a blessing.
“To be honest with you, I got sick and tired of seeing Adam Jones win it every year,” Davis joked. “So I figured I’d do my best to get him out of there. Jonesy has had a great year for us. I can go down the line with guys who have had great years.
“You know how I tell you guys I always keep my goals to myself? My goal was actually to hit 60. So, I’m a little disappointed this year,” he joked. “No, I couldn’t have [dreamed this season]. I’ve said that before. I think growing up even in the minor leagues when you start to get a sense of what player you are going to be and what you are capable of, I always thought 40 [homers] was a big number. Never dreamed of hitting 50 home runs, much less breaking the single-season [franchise] record. But, it’s one of those things where if I didn’t have the guys in front of me and behind me in the lineup, I would have never been here. We all know how much I like to swing. It makes it a lot easier to hit when there’s guys in scoring position.
“I really, really struggled for two years. I’m talking below .200, striking out every at-bat. I just got to the point where I quit worrying so much about the result, started looking at the work and preparation that went into it. I can’t say enough about what it’s meant to come in here and play every day. Not only that, but to be able to wear my hat backwards in the clubhouse and not have somebody look down your nose at you. To be myself ... when you have a clubhouse you can go to every day and really relax, feel like you are part of a family, it makes it easier."
Was there a homer that stood out?
“When I was getting close to 51 or 50, I hit one off John Danks, I’m not sure which [it was 48] one, but I had really been struggling a couple of weeks before that. I felt like honestly, I wasn’t going to hit another home run. It wasn’t even about getting the record as much as it was about being a force in the lineup at such a crucial point in the season. I was a little down on myself and actually, the at-bat before, I think I squibbed one up the middle and stole second, and John stepped off the back of the mound, and I’ve known him since I was in Texas, and he said: ‘I thought you were supposed to be a power hitter.’ I kind of laughed a little bit and I took him deep the next at-bat, which kind of showed him.
“It was one of those where I saw everybody else get fired up, and I realized not only how much it meant to me, but how much it meant to the guys around me. You can’t say enough about my teammates. I can’t imagine coming into a clubhouse, where you dread going into it every day. It’s really nice to know I’m welcome in there every day.”
Have you been able to contemplate the numbers you’ve put up?
“A little bit. I think after we were eliminated, I didn’t want to sit back and start reflecting because I felt like we still had a few games, and especially coming back and finishing up at home. Nobody wants to lose out at home. There was a certain emotion that we weren’t home and wanted to come home and win out and end the season on as positive a note as we really could and I’ve thought about it here and there. My buddies joke around with 53 -- ‘It’s not 73’ -- and giving me a hard time about it. I haven’t really sat down and started thinking about what the numbers say, but what I’ve been through this year with the first All-Star Game, being the leading vote-getter. There are so many things that I could have never imagine happened. Maybe when I get home and go to sleep for 18 hours, I’ll think about it.”
What are your thoughts on the American League MVP race?
“To even be in the discussion is obviously a huge honor. I feel like every year they should just give it to Miguel Cabrera, a guy that is such a dominant hitter. Mike Trout is obviously having an outstanding year. To even be mentioned with those couple guys it’s humbling. ... It’s not only what the individual player has done, but there’s a reason why we’ve all had the years we’ve had and it’s the guys around us. I mean if I hit 53 home runs and nobody’s on base then I have 53 RBIs. It’s little things like that. Coming up to the plate with one out and a runner on third base because Jonesy took the extra base or things like that that allow me to go up there and really relax and hit a nice little fly ball to left-center or something like that. Those are things that through the course of a season you really appreciate because it takes a little bit of pressure off you and let’s you go out there and kind of relax."
What are your thoughts on a contract extension that keep you in Baltimore beyond 2015?
“With the last couple years, this has been a place I’ve really been able to call home. The fans have been awesome. Jill and I, every time we go out, we see somebody [out] there and they are very complimentary. They’re just good people. And there’s a lot to be said for that. I know it was tough to be a fan here for a long time and I hope the last couple of years have really restored the faith of the fan base and given them something to cheer about. I couldn’t think of a better place for me to hit for the rest of my career.
“I always tell the story when I was younger and it was right before I got drafted and for whatever reason I always loved orange and black. I grew up in Dallas, just outside of Dallas, and I was a huge Cowboys fan, Rangers fan, Stars, Mavericks, whatever. And nobody wears orange and black. But I’ve always loved orange and black. I always pictured myself, not necessarily in an Orioles’ uniform, but wearing orange and black. And obviously I got traded over here and now it’s become like my first and second favorite colors. It’s one of those things that I guess it was foreshadowing in my mind before it even happened. This place has just been, I’ve had so many good memories in two years, you know I’d love to extend that for a number of years.”