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Former ASU star Ike Davis settling into Big League life


July 22, 2010

Ike Davis can divide by zero.

Ike Davis counted to infinity - twice.

Ike Davis' calendar goes from March 31 to April 2, because no one can fool Ike Davis.

That is just a small sample of what you can learn on IkeDavisFacts.com. OK, so maybe these aren't really "facts," but they do illustrate the immediate popularity of the former Arizona State star turned starting first baseman for the New York Mets.

"My friends keep me updated," Davis said of the website that capitalized on the fan fervor upon his Major League debut this season. "I don't look at any of that stuff. But the fans, they really enjoy baseball in New York. The Mets fans are all about the Mets. They're so intense."

Indeed, New York sports fans are known for their intensity. However, at least so far in his young career, Davis has been a fan favorite in the Big Apple.

"They embraced me pretty well," he said. "I just have to keep improving, keep trying and showing I want to win, and hopefully they'll always like me."

There has been plenty to like about Ike in 2010. After hitting .480 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 12 Spring Training games, Davis was assigned to Class AAA Buffalo. His time there would be short, however, as after just 10 games in Buffalo, Davis got the call every baseball player dreams of - he was headed to the Majors.

"My first couple days (in the Majors) were just shell shock," Davis said. "Not having a clue what I was doing, not having a thought in my head; I was just so shaken by everything."

Despite that, Davis hit the ground running in New York. He singled in his first at-bat and added an RBI single later in his first Major League game on April 19 against the Chicago Cubs. Four days later, he connected for his first big league home run in a win over the Atlanta Braves.

Davis has continued to produce throughout his rookie campaign. He is hitting .253 in 82 games, and he ranks among the top three among Major League rookies in home runs (13), RBI (45) and runs scored (45). The 13 home runs currently put him in a tie with Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin for the most by a rookie this season.

"It's been a great experience, coming up and playing against the best in the world and with the best in the world," Davis said. "I'm learning so much, and I'm just trying to help the team out as much as I possibly can."

He also finds himself in the middle of a playoff race. The Mets began the year 4-8, but they won 10 of their next 11 games after Davis arrived, and they currently sit second in the National League East and are just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card.

This week, Davis came back to his hometown for a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Growing up in the Phoenix area and graduating from Chaparral HS in Scottsdale before attending ASU, Davis said he fondly remembers watching the Diamondbacks since they began play in 1998.

"I have great memories, coming to watch Randy [Johnson], Curt Schilling, Travis Lee, when they first started," he said after Tuesday's game. "I remember being so excited. I was a big D-backs fan. This is like my home ballpark."

Davis starred at ASU from 2006-2008 as a first baseman, outfielder and pitcher. He hit .353 with 33 home runs in his career, and his 69 doubles and 202 RBI both rank among the top 10 in school history. He also went 7-5 with four saves in 37 career pitching appearances.

He was a three-time All-Pac-10 performer and a two-time All-American, including being a unanimous First-Team All-American as a junior, and he was the 24th ASU player to be a first-round MLB Draft pick when he went 18th overall to the Mets in 2008.

"It's not about a specific win or anything like that," Davis said of what he remembers most about his Sun Devil career. "It's just kids growing up together, becoming men. It's not about who's hitting well or who's playing well. It's about winning, and that's the way baseball should be."

Davis still keeps up with the Sun Devils as well. He said he watched the team's first game of the College World Series this year with his dad, former MLB pitcher Ron Davis.

"I was yelling at the TV, yelling at the umpires, everything," he said. "But what are you going to do? The College World Series is a crapshoot. We had a great team. They did really well this year, and I'm proud of them."

He is also happy to see many of his ASU teammates making an impact in pro baseball. Mike Leake, who played with Davis in 2007 and 2008, is in the starting rotation with the Cincinnati Reds, and Colin Curtis, a teammate of his in 2006, is with the New York Yankees. Several others are moving up through the ranks in the minor leagues, including Brett Wallace and Petey Paramore, who were part of the same freshmen class as Davis in 2006.

"I'm so proud of those guys," Davis said. "I love seeing the Sun Devils up there. We're going to get some more (in the Majors) in the next couple years. It's going to be great. We'll have off-seasons here in Arizona, to make fun of each other, reminisce and make new experiences together."

So, while he may not really be able to divide by zero or count to infinity, Davis is expected to be a cornerstone of the Mets for the next several years. And if he helps bring the Mets a third World Series championship, then New York fans will be just like Arizona State fans. They will always like Ike.