Friday, April 23, 2010

I Like Ike!

That may sound like a campaign slogan for President Eisenhower from a few generations ago, but it's for another up and coming Major League Baseball player that I've been watching for the last few years, even before he turned pro.

My first sighting of Ike Davis came while he was playing college baseball at Arizona State University a few years ago, playing not only his most familiar first base, but pitching and outfield as well.

As a first baseman, where I saw Ike most often, as well as where he's playing at the start of his pro career, he looked a lot like a Mark Grace prototype in the making, with a slick glove and other superb defensive skills on the field. Ike is also a pure hitter, who looks like he could hit for good power and average combined. Ike was drafted by the New York Mets in 2008 after his junior year at Arizona State.

Ike is also a second generation player as his father, Ron Davis, was a relif pitcher, playing most of his career with the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, with stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco toward the end of his career.

Ike played in the 2009 Arizona Fall League, where I continued to follow him with my cameras and like Jason Heyward, whom I also photographed in the Fall League, he moved rather quickly through the New York Mets minor league system.

It was great to hear the news that Ike's contract was purchased by the NY Mets from his Triple-A Buffalo Bisons on April 19, 2010 and that he was able to arrive at Citi Field in Flushing, NY in time for that evenings game.

Ike got a two base hits in his Major League debut, the second of which resulted in his first Major League RBI and he put some good fielding in at first base to top it all off. That ball and broken bat that were part of his first Major League hit, in his first major League at bat, will look good in his trophy case.

The icing on Ike's cake came on April 23, 2010, vs. the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field when he hit his first Major League home run, a 450 foot shot over the head of the Braves rightfielder and fellow rookie sensation Jason Heyward, adding some slick fielding with his glove as well. Is there a Gold Glove in his future, a la Mark Grace? It was great that the ball Ike hit for his first home run was retrieved for his trophy case as well.

That was an unusual game in many ways, to include two young rookie sensations going up against one another. I'm glad I've gotten to watch both Ike and Jason and record digital images of these sensational young ballplayers. Maybe the two of them will put up a race for the National League Rookie-of-the-year award that is just as interesting as some division title races have been.

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