Entering only his second season in the big leagues, Ike Davis carried himself like a classy veteran at the Mets Holiday party on Tuesday. He was the friendliest of everyone there and genuinely seemed to have a good time handing out presents to the children.
Naturally, the conversation began with the Cliff Lee signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Their whole staff, especially their starters, is pretty amazing,” said Davis. “It’s just going make one more game that much tougher.”
Davis was not too worried about the fact that Lee is left-handed and looks forward to the challenge of facing him this year.
“I’ve had more success against lefties anyway. He’s a great pitcher, and we’re going to have to beat him somehow.”
Davis spent some time talking about the new coaching staff. He met Terry Collins several times last year in the minors and became familiar with Collins’ strategy. Davis likes the way Collins talks about baseball and said Collins wants to win and has a good idea about what he wants to do. Davis is eager to play for Collins, but he is still unsure what effect Collins’ fiery attitude will have on the Mets clubhouse.
Davis is very excited that Ken Oberkfell will be joining the coaching staff. Oberkfell managed Davis at AAA Buffalo, albeit for a very short time.
“He’s a great guy, and I think he brings the looseness and the old school mentality of baseball that we need,” said Davis.
Davis is also familiar with new Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens. They met during Davis’ time at Arizona State University. Hudgens also played at ASU and, according to Davis, will bring the knowledge and experience that the Mets need.
Davis’ goal over this season is to avoid long stretches of slumping. There were times last year when Davis couldn’t seem to break his poor habits.
“I don’t want to hit .260 the rest of my career,” said Davis. “You’re going to have bad months; you’re going to have great months. It’s just making it more consistent. I’m not going to make excuses, I just played bad. I didn’t make the adjustments quick enough, and I didn’t hit well.”
It’s nice to see that Davis is so critical of himself because that will lead him to put in the time to improve. I hope that he is not overly critical to the point where he wears himself out in the weight room or in the cage and that it affects his performance.
Heading into 2011, Davis has a more defined role: He will be our main man at first base. Last year, there was some skepticism about what the Mets would do with Davis, and he ultimately wound up in AAA to start the season.
Davis said he will not prepare any differently knowing that he has a set role with the team.
“I think I have a better thought process of how to prepare for the big leagues now because I’ve played in it,” said Davis. “Last year, I had no idea. I just went out and played.”
We concluded with a brief conversation about second base. Davis has already played with numerous second basemen, and that trend should continue this year.
“Every person you play with has a different character as far how vocal they are,” said Davis. “I like the more vocal guys because you feel like a team when you’re out there. Nothing’s getting through this side.”
Davis has enjoyed his time off but is definitely ready to get back in the swing of things (no pun intended).
“It will be fun to get to spring training and see where all the pieces fall and see what we look like,” said Davis.