Chuck Morgan, voice of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, interviewed Rangers Infielder Chris Davis for the Rangers February Web Chat. The following is a transcript version of the video. Some content in this transcript may have been changed to provide constancy in the conversation.
Chuck: Hello Rangers Fans. Welcome to texasrangers.com and before we meet our special guest, don't forget that Texas Rangers Season Tickets are on sale right now as well as Mini Plans and don't forget that individual tickets for 2009 Rangers Baseball go on sale on March 7. Our special guest for today is Rangers Infielder Chris Davis. Chris, individual tickets go on sale March 7. Are you ready for 2009?
Chris: I've been ready since the last day in 2008. I'm ready to get out there and start rolling.
Chuck: Frisco, Oklahoma City, Texas - last year was a busy year for you.
Chris: Yeah, it was quite a journey. I'm not complaining about it by any means but it was like I never really unpacked my suitcase.
Chuck: Called up in June and then you were the American League Rookie of the Month for July and then the Rangers Rookie of the Year. It was a big year of awards.
Chris: It's been a big year. I've had a lot of fun. I was honored with the Rookie of the Month and then the Rookie of the Year award for the Rangers. You know, it says a lot of me because we had a lot of great rookies come up this year and impact the team. I felt very privileged to win that award.
Chuck: Hey Chris, how did it feel to become a part of the best offense in Major League baseball? Question submitted by John Teague
Chris: It was something I really can't describe. It was one of those things where you went out every day and you knew that the guys in the line up were going to get on base and support you and I didn't really feel any pressure to go up there and do it all myself. I had confidence in the guys around me and knew their ability. It was something special and I think we've only grown together and learned from each other more. So I think this year will be just as exciting if not more.
Chris: Well, I walked up to the plate, and if you remember, I struck out the first time. It was Brett Meyers throwing a lot of curve balls. So I'm thinking, I'm batting .500 in the Big Leagues, I got the little squib hit the night before and I wanted to see what I could do, if I could see something out over the plate. When I hit it, I can't honestly tell you what I was thinking. I just remember running around the bases and hearing the home run theme song which I've heard since I was a kid. It seriously felt like I was floating around the bases. It was the most emotional, overwhelming feeling I've ever felt in my life.
Chuck: What was the reaction when you got to the dug out?
Chris: Everybody was congratulatory, but it wasn't blown out of proportion. It was more after the game when guys would come up and say congratulations; there were a few guys that grabbed me during the game. At that point, it was still a close game so we were still battling. But they were very welcoming after the game.
Chuck: One of the best questions we've had at texasrangers.com. For Christmas this year I got a box of jelly beans with over 50 flavors. While I was eating my favorite flavor, watermelon, I thought to myself, "I wonder which flavor Chris Davis likes best?" So Chris, what's your favorite flavor of jelly beans? Question submitted by Olivia Bauer
Chris: I'm going to have to go with watermelon. I'm a big watermelon fan. I think watermelon is the pink one. I know that sounds kind of girly, but I love the pink jelly beans. I haven't had jelly beans in quite a while but I remember when I was a kid I could make myself sick off the pink and red ones but my favorite is watermelon. That is a great question, though.
Chuck: Crush, I really need to know -- what is your favorite cookie? Question submitted by Shirley Kost
Chris: My favorite cookie is white chocolate chip. I try to stay away from cookies as much as I can. When I was in junior college, my mom would bring me and my roommate boxes of cookies and we would sit there and crush them all day. I would have to go with white chocolate chip and if I get some white chocolate chip, I may have to make an exception and have a few with a glass of milk.
Chuck: Chris, your minor league career was such a whirlwind but you sure made an impression on all of your fans on the way up. What was your most exciting moment in your minor league experience and so far from your initial major league season? We are really happy for you. Good Luck from your Single A Blaze Booster Moms Sandra & Dee. Question submitted by Sandra Broughton
Chris: Besides playing for the Bakersfield Blaze where Sandra was a booster, my favorite most memorable moment in the minor leagues was a day when I was in short season with the Spokane Indians. I went 3 or 4 in Vancouver with 3 home runs and the last ball I hit went to the warning track and the guy caught it up against the wall. I don't think anyone and done that in almost 75 years and the history of the ballpark. They awarded me with $100 and we were playing at their stadium and their fans gave me a standing ovation. That was probably the coolest thing for me.
As far as the big leagues, I'd have to say Yankee Stadium. The walk-off against Detroit was awesome but I was still wet behind the ears and didn't really understand the impact of what was going on at the time and I hit a home run in Yankee Stadium. At the end of the season, I started thinking; I hit a home run in the house that Ruth built. It was the last season to be there, our last chance to play there. That was probably my most memorable moment. I'll never forget that.
Chuck: I know I love going out to Arizona for Spring Training. What is your favorite part of Spring Training? Question submitted by Tenaya Bresson
Chris: I think just being out there and on the field in the warmer weather and seeing all the fans get excited. I've been thinking about that for the last couple of weeks actually, how ready I am to get out there in the warmer weather and put the uniform on, stretch, and get in to the games. The first couple of days when you get out there, you can hear people moving around and the stadium kind of gets the buzz going. I think that to me is the best part. It lets me know that the season is here and we're ready to kick it off.
Chuck: If you could hit a home run off any pitcher, past or present, who would it be? Question submitted by Neil Carrier
Chris: That's a tough one. I'd have to go with Cy Young. He's the most notorious pitcher of all time for being one of the most dominating pitchers. I mean, he's got an award named after him. I'm not old enough to have seen him play but it would have been cool to have hit off of him. To talk and see how he pitched then and how much it's changed now. I would want to talk to him and see what he was thinking about.
Chuck: Your jersey number is 19. How did you select this number? Was this your first choice? Question submitted by Jeremy Karlovich
Chris: Number 19 was actually my first number in pro ball. I was actually number 9 in college, number 20 in high school, and number 7 growing up. I was never actually 19, but they gave it to me in Spokane and it kind of grew on me. Ever since then, I've chosen 19. When I moved up to Frisco, 19 was already taken so I chose 21. I actually didn't wear it at all last year until I was called up to the big leagues and I was thinking, the day I got called up, it would be cool if they gave me number 19. Then Zack [Minasian] called me and told me I was going to be number 19 and it's in my locker. It's definitely my number of choice now and I'm going to hang on to it for as long as I can.
Chuck: When you were growing up, did you ever come over to the ballpark and watch another number 19?
Chris: Oh yeah, and that was another one of the reasons why I though it was cool. Juan Gonzalez was one of the best hitters in the Rangers line up in the late 90's and to watch him, he was dominating. I was a big fan of him. I was a huge Pudge fan growing up. I started thinking, Juan Gonzalez... could I be the next Juan Gonzalez? I would never think that but I think it's cool to be kind of related with that number.
Chuck: Growing up in Longview, did you come to a lot of games over here?
Chris: I did. I came to several of the games. I don't remember many of the games in the old stadium. I remember the first season Rangers Ballpark opened. I saw guys like Mickey Tettleton play. We would always sit right behind the Right Fielder and saw Tim Salmon. It was cool to see those guys because they are right there in front of you and it looks like you could almost reach out and touch them. I do remember when I was a little kid seeing Jose Canseco in the on deck circle and I thought to myself, if this guy is a big leaguer and I've got to be that big, I've got no shot! Because that guy was just enormous and the uniform he had on was just painted on him. But I got to come to a lot of games as a youngster.
Chuck: Since many of us have known you since you were a young player in Longview, I wonder how you like the nickname being placed on you as "Crush" Davis? Good luck, Chris! We're all pulling for you and enjoy watching you play for the Rangers. Question submitted by Wade Elkins
Chris: I like the nickname. Josh Lewin was talking to me in Houston about a couple of nicknames that had circulated and the one that kind of stuck to me was Crush. During the season it's kind of hard because you see it every once and a while, you have so much to think about you that you don't take the time to analyze everything. But now we've done the Winter Caravan and people have come up to me and referred to me as Crush. I kind of like it and its kind of growing on me. I especially liked the sign they had for me in the outfield toward the end of the season that said "Who needs Crash, we've got Crush." That's when I thought it was alright.
Chuck: Maybe you'll hit 40 RBI's and 100 homers and we'll have a candy bar named after you.
Chris: That sounds good to me. Will they throw it on the field if I hit a home run?
Chuck: Yeah, we'll add some watermelon jelly beans and chocolate chip in there.
What kind of glove do you use and how do you break it in? Question submitted by Tom Tessier
Chris: I use a Rawlings First Baseman's mitt. I'm under contract with Rawlings. I've used that since I was little. I used Wilson a little bit, but I always liked Rawlings more. The best way to break it in, I've always put it in the microwave for a little bit to soften up the leather, not for a long time, you don't want to leave it in there for too long. Then just play catch with it. I always have my glove on my hand. We have this little tool which is a baseball wrapped up at the end of a bat handle. What you do is pound it in the pocket and it makes a deeper pocket for you. But one of the best ways is to just play catch with it because it forms to your hand. The glove forms itself to how you catch the ball and that's the way I've always gone about it.
Chuck: What is the length and the weight of the bat that you use? Question submitted by Rick Kissell
Chris: The length is 34 inches and the weight, it ranges, but I think this is 33. Usually, toward the end of the season, bats feel a little bit heavier because you're a little fatigued. But I usually stay between 32 to 34. It's no Josh Hamilton 35. I've actually swung that and I think he maybe the only person that can swing that bat, it's huge. I like a bat I can handle, one that I feel like I have a lot of control with, and that I feel like I can be quick with.
Chuck: Chris, we mentioned earlier, that you went from Frisco to Oklahoma City to the Rangers; did you feel some fatigue toward the end of the year?
Chris: I think so and I played more games this year than I did the year before. I think I played 158 games. My goal is to play 162. Once you get toward the end of the season, it really starts to set in mentally more than anything else. One thing people don't realize is we get here between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. every day just to get ready for the game. A lot of guys work out. You have to see the trainer and go through your whole routine. Toward the end of the season, I noticed that, and I talked to Josh [Hamilton] a lot about it, like what I needed to do to focus in, it seemed like toward the end of the season we were backing off the weights and focusing more on the game. I definitely think it sets in those last couple of months where you notice it.
Chuck: I've been watching the Rangers since I was 4 (I'm almost 18) and last year was a great season. I'd love to know what you're most excited for about the 2009 season & why. Question submitted by Haley W.
Chris: Well, last season we finished 2nd to the Angles but it seemed like we always played the Angels really well. Especially when I was up here, it always seemed like we were really competitive with them and I felt like they were a team we could really compete with for the A.L. West. We were able to finish in 2nd last year, which was good for some reasons but in our minds we want to win the West. I think this year, with the changes, bringing Mike in and we've had a few guys move around but we have the same core and the same nucleus and the younger guys have a little more experience. I think the most exciting thing for me this year is to really feel like we have a chance to go out and compete for the A.L. West.
Chuck: Nolan [Ryan] and I were in Tyler for the Tyler Rose Festival where we spoke at a luncheon and a lot of folks were excited about Chris Davis and I spread the word that we're excited about Chris Davis, too. We're ready to roll.
Chris: I appreciate it. I'm really excited to be here. Like I said, I can't tell you how much last year meant to me. It's fun to sit back looking at Spring Training, knowing that it's so close, and think this is going to be my first real chance to play with the team throughout the whole year and to really go at something that I can say I'm going to be here, doing this, with these guys and have a plan and have a goal and just get after it. We had a lot of really good things happen last year with this but things didn't end up the way we wanted but this year is a new year and we have a lot of good things headed our way.
Chuck: We appreciate your time today.
Chris: Thank you very much.
Chuck: That's Rangers First Baseman Chris Davis. Don't forget once again that individual tickets go on sale March 7, but season tickets and mini plans are on sale now.
Be sure to join us next month right here at texasrangers.com.
Chuck Morgan is the voice of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.