Davis keeps chin up after flubbing chances

April 19, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

MILWAUKEE -- If there were no excuses, at least there was a small degree of consolation for Glenn Davis.

Not enough to ease the sting of the Orioles' 4-3 loss to the Brewers in 11 innings yesterday, but at least a little salve for the wound.

"Usually after something like that a team will fall apart and get kicked all over the field," said Davis. "But we didn't die -- they kept picking me up."

The "something like that" Davis referred to was the most nightmarish experience of his career. "If you can look up the records, I think I only made three errors on ground balls all last year," said Davis.

Yesterday he made that many in one game. And the first baseman should've had a fourth after failing to catch a hurried throw from second baseman Bill Ripken following Davis' final boot in the ninth inning. Instead, that miscue was inexplicably charged to Ripken. "That ball was catchable," said Davis. "He [Ripken] did a good job trying to save me. The ball sailed a little bit, but it hit off the end of my glove. I should have caught it."

By game's end, Davis was numb with mixed emotions. "I don't know what to do," he said. "I don't know whether to laugh . . . or cry . . . or what.

"It was very upsetting personally," said Davis. "But on the other hand . . . when you have a day like that, you almost have to laugh about it."

This wasn't just a case of trying to field ground balls like an unsuccessful soccer goalie. Davis also had the embarrassment of messing up a rundown play that allowed the potential winning run to reach second base in the eighth inning.

A pitchout immediately after Mike Flanagan entered the game left Greg Vaughn hung up on the base path, but Davis chased him 60 feet to second base without making a tag.

"It was fortunate that I only cost us one run," Davis said. "It could have been a whole lot worse, but my teammates kept picking me up."

Third baseman Leo Gomez was the savior after Davis' double-snafu in the ninth inning. Gomez made a diving stop of a sharp one-hopper off the bat of Dante Bichette and threw from his knees for a force at second to prevent the winning run from scoring.

That was six innings after the only run that resulted directly from an error. A ground ball hit by Franklin Stubbs went through Davis' legs in the third inning, allowing the Brewers' second run to score.

It came immediately after Davis had combined with shortstop Cal Ripken on a good play for the second out of the inning. Ripken had to go deep in the hole for Gary Sheffield's hard grounder and Davis scooped the long throw out of the dirt.

"I was thinking 'good play, you're having a good game defensively,' -- and then the bottom fell out," said Davis. The very next play was the error on Stubbs' ground ball. In the fifth inning Bill Spiers hit another ball underneath Davis. Then came the botched rundown play and another ground ball by Stubbs in the ninth.

By then, Davis was using all of his limbs in an effort to keep the ball in front of him. He dropped to one knee to keep the ball from getting through. But by that point, nothing was working. He succeeded only in deflecting the ball toward second base, where Bill Ripken tried to save the out with a barehanded play.

"I don't have any excuses," said Davis. "It could've been a whole lot worse. I'm just glad they picked me up so that I didn't cost us any more than one run."

Had he ever experienced a game like that before? "I had one like that when I first started playing [in the minor leagues]," he said. "But I was playing third base then; it was an experiment."

Yesterday was an experience. "That was the worst," said Davis. "I remember a game in Chicago losing two foul fly balls in the sun. But there were no excuses today [yesterday] -- the balls were on the ground."

It got so bad that the skimpy crowd of 7,693 started giving Davis standing ovations -- the last coming after he fielded a grounder to end the 10th inning. While he may have lost track of a few grounders, Davis didn't lose his sense of humor.

As he entered the dugout before the 11th inning, Davis raised his hat high in recognition of the mock cheers coming his way. "My gesture was just a way of saying 'Hey, I'm not quitting. I'm not going to let it get to me,' " Davis said.

It was, to say the least, a game to forget. "You can take that one and throw it out," Davis said. "Just trash it."

That's what Robin Yount did officially with two outs in the 11th inning. He mercifully sent everybody home with his home run off reliever Jose Bautista.

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