NY Likes Ike - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

NY Likes Ike

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Posted: Monday, July 26, 2010 5:58 pm | Updated: 3:50 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Ike Davis was mere hours away from his first major league game in Arizona on Monday - where hundreds of friends and family poured in to see him - and all he could do was laugh.

The former Chaparral and Arizona State baseball star kicked back in a gray recliner within the visiting clubhouse at Chase Field, delaying the start of his pre-game duties to watch the theatrics of Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell in the comedy classic "Old School."

Scene after gut-splitting scene caused bursts of laughter from New York Mets stars, and Davis, a 23-year-old rookie, sat in the midst of it all, engrossed in the film.

It's the type of easygoing presence the first baseman has displayed since his first day with the big league club in mid-April.

While Davis plays in the media mecca of America, alongside established stars David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, he didn't need this trip back to Arizona to feel right at home.

"In the big league spring training this year, there was that 'wow' factor for me," Davis said. "I was playing against all the guys I've watched for so many years, and I was just in awe. But as you keep playing, you are out there every day with these guys. You kind of lose that, ‘Oh my God, I'm playing next to this guy (feeling).'

"It's like eating sweets every day. It probably wouldn't taste as good unless you had it just every once in awhile. If you have it every day, it dulls a little bit."

Since he was called up from Triple-A, Davis has been a special treat for the Mets.

He is batting .258 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs. His slugging percentage of .451 is third among regulars and the Mets are 45-36 with him in the fold heading into Tuesday night's contest against the Diamondbacks.

Davis is second on the team in home runs and RBIs despite no guarantee that he would even be called up this season.

"He was a guy that no one really expected to make the team," outfielder Jason Bay said. "But he hit unbelievably (in spring training) and opened some eyes. We realized that before long, he was going to be helping us out, no question."

For most of the season, Davis has been sandwiched between Wright and Bay in the middle of the New York lineup, often batting cleanup.

For such a high-profile spot, manager Jerry Manuel said Davis has handled it like a veteran.

"He flows with the rhythm of the game very well," Manuel said. "He has not been intimidated. He's a very, very impressive major league player, probably one of the more impressive ones - at his (level of) experience - that I've been around. And I've been around some pretty good ones."

The main plot line in "Old School" revolves around protagonist Luke Wilson attempting to win the affection of Ellen Pompeo. Wilson has his ups and downs before finally securing the girl.

It has been smoother sailing for Davis, who hasn't endured the wrath of the rabid fan contingent in New York, but no relationship is perfect forever.

"He hasn't quite hit that bump in New York yet," Manuel said with a laugh. "Once you hit that bump in New York and get through that, then you're ready."

It will come sooner or later, but Davis embraces the culture.

His father, Ron, played for the Yankees in the 1970s and 80s, and helped relay some experiences to his son, and Ike has seen it first-hand for the last few months.

"It's not that they hate you, they just want you to do well," said Davis of the Mets fan base. "They really want to win, and you have to commend them for it. They want to win just as bad as we do."

The relationship between Davis and Mets fans has been in an extended honeymoon phase since his call-up, and it has a chance to get even better.

The team is finally healthy and within striking distance of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.

Davis is one of several potent bats in the Mets lineup, and how much he produces in the second half of the season will play an important role in the team's fortunes.

Davis won't take that wide of a view, but one thing is for sure: While he stopped watching "Old School" before it finished, Davis would be thrilled with a similar Hollywood ending.

"It's such a long season that you have to keep your head down and keep chipping away," he said. "Right now, I'm not thinking about (anything) on the outside. I'm just trying to stay focused and do my job here.

"But I'm going to take some time in the offseason to look back at just how crazy and amazing this was."

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