Major League Baseball
Heartwarming reunions in Oakland and Cincinnati highlight this week's Good Times
Major League Baseball

Heartwarming reunions in Oakland and Cincinnati highlight this week's Good Times

Updated Sep. 3, 2021 8:26 p.m. ET

By Jake Mintz
FOX Sports MLB Writer

Welcome to Good Times. 

Every Friday, we focus on three things from the previous week in baseball — fans, managers, players, teams, cities, fan bases or mascots — for which the times were good. 

Here we go.


1. Khris Davis

For four years, Khris Davis was the most consistent player in the majors — to a hilarious degree. The undersized slugger with lightning-quick wrists and a launch angle that would make a baseball boomer cry posted a .247 batting average in four consecutive seasons from 2015 to 2018. Every autumn, you could count on the leaves changing, seasonal affective disorder setting in and Khris Davis having a .247 batting average and an OPS around .850.

Even at his peak, strikeouts were no stranger to the Oakland clean-up man. But he hit enough, walked enough and slugged enough to make the high K numbers fade away. So it goes in modern baseball. All that dinger-knocking earned Davis a well-deserved, three-year contract extension with the A’s before the 2019 season.

Unfortunately for everyone, Davis fell off an offensive cliff right after signing that deal. In 2019, his exit velocity and barrel-percentage numbers went from elite to just plain good, which meant 23 homers and a .220 average instead of 40-something homers and a .247 average. 

Being a high-strikeout slugger is fine and dandy as long as you’re punishing the snot out of the baseball, but once the snot is staying firmly inside the ball, things get iffy.

Davis' decline continued during the abbreviated 2020 COVID season, with only two home runs in 30 games. Even though he knocked three postseason homers in eight games, he was no longer worth a starting spot on a contender. 

As a DH with no defensive safety net to save his value, he became an expendable and redundant member of the Oakland roster and was dealt to Texas for Elvis Andrus before the 2021 season. In just two years, Davis went from franchise cornerstone to trade piece.

Once he got to the Rangers, things got even worse. Davis hit .157 in a month's worth of games while battling through injuries before Texas straight-up released him in June. 

I know right now you’re probably like, "How is this a good story? I thought this article was supposed to be one of the 10 uplifting things on the Internet." Well, here’s the turning point. 

In early August, the A’s signed their old friend to a minor-league deal and sent him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Now, Vegas is the easiest place to hit for power in the minors — and maybe the world. I don’t think I could hit a ball over a major-league fence if you gave me 500 tries, but I know for a fact I could do it in Vegas. 

Anyway, Davis got to Sin City and immediately proved that he was #NotWashed, crushing 10 homers in 16 games. 

Then, on Sept. 1, Davis was promoted to the big-league club when rosters expanded. The Baseball-Bruiser of Oakland is back in the Green and Gold after a year-long hiatus and three years of mediocrity. It's a true joy to see.

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Davis is not a future Hall of Famer and maybe not even a future Oakland A’s Hall of Famer. But his return represents the type of comeback love story between team and fan base that just makes you smile. Three months ago, Davis was very washed, as in, getting released by the third-worst team in MLB washed. Now he’s got a legitimate shot to make the Oakland playoff roster.

For three years, Davis was The Guy in Oakland. Then he forgot how to hit. Then the pandemic happened, and A's fans never got to say goodbye. Well now, instead, they’ll get to say hello again. You love to see it.

2. Mets fans around 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon

The New York Mets were in the news again this week. Of course, there was ThumbsDownGate, with Javy Báez, Kevin Pillar and crew admitting that their new hand signal was their own way of booing the fans. Stupid and insulting to the fans, sure, but whatever. That was followed by team president Sandy Anderson fire-hosing the situation with lighter fluid by issuing an eyewash-y, pearl-clutching statement that vilified his players and, in my opinion, only made things worse.

Then on Wednesday, it was reported that Mets acting general manager Zack Scott had been arrested early Tuesday and charged with driving while intoxicated. The resulting team statement addressing Scott’s situation was paragraphs shorter than the one that tossed Báez under the bus.

Wedged in between those two embarrassing moments, for a team that has had its fair share of said moments recently, was a truly delightful day of baseball. Before Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins, Báez and Francisco Lindor spoke to the media and apologized to the fan base for their thumbs-down celebration. They seemed genuinely remorseful for something that, while silly, was neither illegal nor immoral.

Then the Mets scored five runs in the ninth inning to complete an incredible comeback that included the previously booed Báez scoring the winning run on a very Báez play. The crowd went bonkers. The SNY broadcasters completely lost their minds. For a moment in time, there was joy in Queens.

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The New York Mets have an organizational problem. That’s not breaking news. Every week, there’s something else, something newly befuddling and embarrassing. There’s a laundry list of off-field catastrophes, from the shameful Jared Porter debacle last winter to the mishandling of 2021 first-round pick Kumar Rocker a few months ago. After a certain period of time, a series of recurring "mistakes" are no longer anomalies. They are evidence of a rotten culture.

For Mets fans, balancing that unfortunate reality with the joy of the baseball itself is not exactly an easy task. But if you’re not enjoying the good moments, what’s the point? You can never fully remove the context — nor should you — but that Báez play was amazing in and of itself.

Even though this club continues to show its rear end at every turn, and its odds of clawing back into the postseason race are slim, I hope Mets fans can enjoy the rare and genuine glimpses of wonder that baseball can provide.

3. The DeShields family

It’s probably overly simplistic to call Delino Deshields Jr. the "coach’s kid," but it's also not wrong. The six-year MLB veteran was dealt from the Red Sox to the Reds this week, the type of minor transaction that happens around this time and doesn’t really make an impact on our baseball-following experience.

But this one is different. And that’s because Delino DeShields Jr. now gets to be on the same team as his dad, Reds first-base coach and former big-leaguer Delino Deshields Sr.

For more up-to-date news on all things Reds, click here to register for alerts on the FOX Sports app!

Many kids are fortunate enough to play for a parent at the youth level. I got to play for my dad in Little League, which was cool, even though he was abysmal at bullpen management. Now imagine getting to have that experience with the person who raised you and fostered your love for the game … IN THE BIG LEAGUES.

This isn’t anything new. Among many examples, Bruce Bochy got to manage his son, Brett, in 2014, and Cal Ripken Jr. played for Cal Sr. for a bit. It actually makes sense; the type of people who coach baseball for a living probably do a good job of imparting work ethic, wisdom and talent unto their kids. 

The elder DeShields played 13 seasons in the bigs, had more than 1,600 plate appearances and got MVP votes. He might well be the best big leaguer ever from Delaware. 

Still, this has to be the best moment of his baseball life — getting to watch Junior fly around the bases like they’re still in the backyard.

For more up-to-date news on all things MLB, click here to register for alerts on the FOX Sports app!

Jake Mintz is the louder half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball analyst for FOX Sports. He’s an Orioles fan living in New York City, and thus, he leads a lonely existence most Octobers. If he’s not watching baseball, he’s almost certainly riding his bike. You can follow him on Twitter @Jake_Mintz.


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