MIAMI BEACH, FLA — MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Every day baseball offers tales of misplaced loyalty and unrestrained greed. Last night baseball offered something completely different. No, not the Mets-Royals blockbuster. The Davis family reunion.
Glenn Davis and Storm Davis aren't brothers, but that's how they view each other. This is about that. Storm Davis lives in Jacksonville, Fla., but calls Baltimore home. This is about that, too.
As the late Harry Chapin once sang, "All my life's a circle." The Orioles traded Storm Davis for Mark Williamson and Terry Kennedy in October 1986. They traded Kennedy for Bob Melvin in January 1989. And last night they traded Melvin for Davis, bringing it all back home.
Home, to the place Storm never wanted to leave. Home, to the place he always wanted to return. Home, for the reunion with Glenn, the troubled teen-ager who spent so much time at his house during their high school years.
Oh, there were the usual baseball details: The Orioles will assume $1.9 million of Storm's $2.3 million salary for 1992. Indeed, they showed no reluctance acquiring a pitcher who, after finishing 3-9 with a 4.96 ERA last season, is clearly overpaid.
Melvin will earn $900,000 next season, so the Orioles added $1 million to their payroll. It should prove worth the expense: Kansas City general manager Herk Robinson predicted the trade will be so uplifting to Davis, he'll "definitely" win 12 to 15 games.
Storm said, "That sounds good to me," then called the trade "the answer to a prayer." He never actually lived with Glenn, but the two played baseball and football together at University Christian High School in Jacksonville. Storm's father coached both teams.
Today Storm regards Glenn as the "brother I never had." To say the feeling is mutual is an understatement of dramatic proportion. Glenn's wife Teresa was the one who answered the call from Storm's wife Angie last night. Both households went bonkers.
"Teresa and I are sitting here, and it's definitely blowing our minds," Glenn said an hour after learning the news. "Words can't describe it right now. I'm just totally shocked. It's hard to talk. I just don't know what to say."
Glenn said he and Teresa were working on "the budget" when they received the call. (The budget? He was kidding, right?) "Teresa started screaming and jumping up and down, saying, 'Storm's coming to town! Storm's coming to town!' " he recalled.
"I said, 'No, you're kidding me. You're not playing a joke, are you?' She said, 'No.' I threw my pen up in the air. My knees hit the table. I woke my kids up, jumping up and down. My wife will tell you I was dancing around for 30 minutes."
Storm and Angie, on the other hand, were putting their children to
bed when the Royals informed them of the trade at 10:45 p.m. "It's tough to funnel everything through my lips," he said from Jacksonville. "I'm just flying."
The return of Storm was such a natural, his agent -- Baltimore attorney Ron Shapiro -- was suggesting it in lobby conversations all week. Coincidentally, the Davis boys even have the same middle name (Earl). This just had to happen, didn't it?
Storm, who turns 30 on Dec. 26, was drafted by the Orioles in the seventh round of the '79 draft. Glenn, nine months older, was drafted by the Orioles in the 32nd round that same year. However, he did not turn professional until '81.
From there, they took separate paths, Glenn to Houston, Storm to Baltimore, where Mike Flanagan dubbed him "Cy Clone," for Davis idolized Jim Palmer. Storm was 45-28 for the Orioles from 1982-85, but dropped to 9-12 in '86. He was traded at the end of that season.
He clashed with manager Larry Bowa in San Diego, then was shipped to Oakland, where he won 35 games in two years. The A's strong bullpen was a critical factor in his success. He struggled in Kansas City after signing a three-year, $6 million free-agent contract.
Through it all, he kept thinking of Baltimore, his friends, the fans, the fun. "There really is no place like it," Storm said. "The relationships the players can have with the fans, the way they get into it, that doesn't really exist anywhere else."
Thus, he desperately wanted to return for the final weekend at Memorial Stadium, but said "the Royals blocked it. I was very upset. I wanted to get back very bad, to see everyone, to be part of the ceremonies, to be part of the memories."
Now he'll rejoin the Orioles' starting rotation in the club's new downtown ballpark, rejoin his "brother" Glenn. "Neither one of us smiles a whole lot, but I think that's going to change," Storm Davis said.
Baseball did that last night.
Did it again.