Watching Jeff DaVanon

Watching Jeff DaVanon

A weblog devoted to #55 of the Anaheim Angels, Jeff DaVanon. How is he doing? Is he getting his due respect yet? Let's watch and see...

Monday, June 14, 2004

Why Jeff?

Many people (after they say "Jeff who?") have asked why I have chosen to focus on Jeff DaVanon. He's not remarkable, some think he's nothing short of useless, he doesn't have a band on the side, there is nothing that should really draw my attention to him.

But that overlooks the simple, personal, fact that Jeff may have saved my marriage.

I'll come back to that, let's look at reasons to like Jeff that have nothing to do with my marriage:
1) Underdog factor Who doesn't like an underdog? Jeff isn't a starter or a star. Every time he contributes to the team he's standing in for the everyman. He's just another baseball player. Even when he does do amazingly well, he tends to do it quietly.

2)Excitement Jeff is an exciting player to watch. He has flashes of brilliance and flashes of stupidity. He has speed and power, but not enough of either to make you feel safe about what he's going to do. He's a competent outfielder, and could have been very good if he'd ever been given a chance to settle in at one position. Jeff steals bases, gets hits, takes walks, and dives/jumps for balls

3) Higher stakes Jeff is usually playing for his life. The starters and everday players can have a slump, or coast through a period on their bright names and good looks. Jeff needs to produce and perform whatever is asked of him. This adds a dimension to games, usually you are just rooting for a team to win, but now I am not only rooting for the Angels, I am rooting for a single player to perform well and be noticed.

4) Goofy Dork factor Jeff isn't really a traditionally good-looking guy. Except for the recent, ill-advised flirtation with facial hair, he's a cute guy, forgettable, everyman. But he has a few things that make me think he has a goofy dork inside him. First, there is the high socks. He's the only Angel to consistently wear high socks. He also seems to have big shoes, but maybe that's just the high socks making his shoes look bigger. Then there is his swing, which was wackier last year but is still sort of odd. Lastly, there is the smile. Jeff rarely gives a complete smile, he gives this half smile, like he's afraid to be too happy that he got on base.

So lets get back to the personal reason that I like Jeff. My husband is a life-long Angels fan. I didn't even like baseball. He went to the playoff and World Series games with his dad in 2002. I suggested that he and his dad get season tickets. I was so oblivious about baseball that I didn't understand how many games that would be and how impossible it would be to have a real marriage where one person has season tickets and the other doesn't even like baseball. I mean, football is once a week, there is still time to have a life built around the other 6 days. Baseball is basically the reverse. So I started going to a game or two and tried to show support and understand and *catch up*. But it was hard. I was getting down the basics of the game (you can't foul a third strike) but my learning and enjoyment was hampered by all this damn history. "That's so-and-so, he did such-and-such in game whatever of the series against the whoozits." I was losing my mind, every player had this elaborate history that I couldn't begin to learn.

But then, in the end of May, someone was playing that had high socks and a funny swing and also had no history. I said to my husband "who is that?" And all he could answer was "I don't know." "I like him" I replied. Soon, the player no one had heard of was hitting well and looking good and I could just watch him develop a history. It also gave me a starting point to understand the game. I asked questions based on what happened to Jeff, we could use Jeff as an example when I needed to know about some finer point of play. If a player was traded or something in the off-season, I could ask "how does this effect Jeff?"

And when my husband wanted to sell me on a vacation to see Spring Training, he knew that all he had to do was say "you'll get to see Jeff close-up" and I would be sold. And I was.

My thoughts after attending the 2002 pennant game

Red Laundry: the life and death of a baseball widow

Autograph: my story from Spring Training

Hello! Just wanted to say that my sister is the biggest fan of Jeff DaVanon. Watches every Angels game and trys to go to all of them! Do you have anymore info on him?? Would love for my sister to be able to meet him for her surprise birthday party!!! She loves that half smile!!!!!
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