Rajai Davis still ‘specializes’ in speed, even as the Syracuse Mets’ oldest player at 38

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The International League’s oldest player, Rajai Davis (38), picks up his second steal of the season. Speed causes mistakes. #Syracuse #Mets #MetsTwitter pic.twitter.com/pTh1zMxcAh— Billy Heyen (@Wheyen3) April 8, 2019 Rajai Davis disobeyed an old baseball adage on Syracuse Mets’ opening day: Don’t make the third out of an inning at third base. The 38-year-old outfielder, standing as the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with Tim Tebow batting, tried to steal third.His head-first slide resulted in a look of disbelief over his left shoulder. The umpire called him out. A manager may have been mad at most players for that costly out. But Tony DeFrancesco shrugged it off, because he trusts Davis.“Rajai’s a veteran,” DeFrancesco said. “He’s got the most stolen bases in the major leagues in the last 10 years. He wanted to be aggressive, and he has the green light.”Davis, even as the Mets’ and International League’s oldest player, is the self-proclaimed fastest player on the roster. He’s stolen 668 bases at a 78.7% clip in his majors and minors career. In an outfield that also includes 35-year-old Gregor Blanco and 33-year-old Carlos Gómez, both major league veterans and base-stealers themselves, Davis is moving quicker than everyone else.“He’s got all his little moves and his things that he does that he practices, and he specializes in it and it’s really cool,” Tebow said of Davis’ base-running.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Retirement wasn’t an option heading into this season for Davis, he said. He spent the off-season at home in Connecticut, where he grew up watching the New York Mets, specifically Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson. So when the Mets offered him a contract this off-season, it made sense to join the organization he grew up following.Besides, his son has just gotten old enough to really see Davis play. Jordan Michael, named intentionally because Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls were what Davis called “my team,” is three years old. He wasn’t even one when Davis accomplished maybe the biggest feat of his career.In game seven of the 2016 World Series, Davis kept the Cleveland Indians alive in the ninth inning against Aroldis Chapman. He turned on a ball down the left field line, just over the fence, to tie the game. The veteran known for his speed had temporarily made himself nationally known with his power.That highlight is a source of motivation now, Davis said. He’ll pull out his phone, search up the highlight and take in the moment again. “Relive it, replay it, all the ‘re’s,” he said.“If ever I need a little boost, I got something to pull from, from my archives,” Davis said. “That’s always nice.”Davis feels like he’s 25, not 38. A mindset is all it is, Davis said. He doesn’t wake up with aches and pains like other people his age. It’s more about preparation now, Davis admitted. When he was younger, he could get away with showing up and not worrying about stretching or diet plans.“He does pretty good to be 38. He looks outstanding,” Blanco said. “I was just talking to him about it, it’s amazing. He works pretty hard, every single day and his work ethic is amazing.”Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorHis veteran status puts him in a mentoring role, something that he said is just who he is. “OTJ” is what Davis called his method: “On the job training.” If he sees something, he’ll address it with the teammate who needs to hear it, nothing more.At Syracuse Mets’ media day, the questions went back-and-forth about Davis’ age and speed. An older player would lose quickness, a reporter suggested. Davis hasn’t started slowing down, though. Gómez and Blanco aren’t speed slouches themselves, combining for 859 professional steals. But as the Mets’ oldest outfielder, Davis still gets hounded about how old he is.“I think they try to joke on me, but until they can run as fast as me,” Davis paused, then winked and grinned. “I’m doing all the laughing.” Comments Published on April 9, 2019 at 10:52 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3last_img read more

Kane’s Eyes on the Golden Shoes of Russia 2018

first_img“Obviously it would be fantastic to win it,” Kane said when asked about the top scorer prize. “The main priority is getting through. But I feel like if I play well and the team plays well, hopefully I’ll score and things there will take care of themselves.”Kane will be hoping to boost his chances against Colombia on Tuesday, with an open, attacking affair widely expected. “Hopefully it will be us creating most of the chances, even though they have some great attacking players like [Radamel] Falcao and James [Rodriguez],” he said. “We know we are going to have to be on it. But we have played some great attacking football so far.”England have only won two World Cup knockout games since 1990: against Denmark in 2002 and Ecuador in 2006. But Kane, who was not born when Sir Bobby Robson’s side progressed to the semi-finals in Italy 28 years ago, believes this young Three Lions team have a great opportunity to make history.“That’s the aim,” he said. “Our record hasn’t been great over the years – we know it and the fans know it. So, for us, it’s about trying to change that.”With knockout football upon them, Kane & Co could also be challenged to improve England’s notoriously poor record in penalty shootouts. But while spot-kick practice has been woven into Gareth Southgate’s training sessions, the team’s star striker – who scored two textbook penalties against Panama – says replicating the context is near-impossible.“It’s something we’ve done a little bit of work on but penalties are hard to train for,” he explained. “When you’re in a shootout, you’re tired because you’ve played 120 minutes, so mentally and physically it’s a totally different scenario.“I am someone who likes to have a routine to take into a game but some players are different. Some players wait for the keeper to dive and have a slow run-up, while others pick a spot and go. For me, it’s all about routine.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Harry Kane has become accustomed to being showered with praise. This week, former England midfielder Jamie Redknapp described the Three Lions striker as “our Messi, our Ronaldo”.Yet despite such generous tributes having become almost commonplace, humility remains a hallmark of this model professional. You wouldn’t know to speak to him, for example, that Kane currently leads the race for Russia 2018’s adidas Golden Boot, having scored five goals in just two appearances.It’s also clear that, while he would love to follow in the top-scoring footsteps of legends like Eusebio, Ronaldo and England’s very own Gary Lineker, he will be pursuing that dream by focusing on the collective.last_img read more