* Rajai Davis is a big hit with fans in New London, Conn., especially against the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. .... 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors 2013 Canadian collegians playing summer ball 2013 Canadians in College Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
Why is the Yankee Killer, the Yankee Killer?
“All my friends are either New York Yankees fans or Boston Red Sox fans, so they’re always watching,” said outfielder Rajai Davis.
“Yankee fans want me to do well and have the Yankees win, while Red Sox fans want me to do well to beat the Yankees.”
Davis is hitting .295 (13-for-44) against the Yankees this season with three doubles, a triple and five RBIs after Wednesday’s game. He is 5-for-6 stealing bases and has five runs scored.
And the Yankee Killer, a free agent at the end of the year, doesn’t do badly against the Red Sox either, hitting .341 (15-for-44) with four doubles, 7-for-8 stealing bases and scoring 10 runs.
Davis had seven consecutive hits--a homer, a double, five singles-- against Yankees pitching at the Rogers Centre last Sept. 28-29, batting .339 (21-for-62) with seven doubles, a homer, seven RBIs, was 7-for-10 on the base paths and seven runs scored on the year.
“They loved (the 7-for-7) at home,” said Davis.
Home for Davis is New London, Conn., which consists of Yankees fans, Red Sox fans and a few Blue Jays fans--friends of John McDonald’s and Davis.
The word from New England ...
“I root for the Blue Jays when they play the Yankees, but it seems he does well against both the Yankees and the Red Sox,” said Alan Centazzo, a Yankees fan who manages the local Walmart, where Davis’ father Roscoe Davis is a maintenance manager.
“I met Rajai when he came home from playing at triple-A Indianapolis (2006),” said Centazzo. “He’s a great inspiration for kids around here.
“He’d start for the Red Sox ... with the Yankees he’d compete for a job. It seems he always starts as fourth outfielder but always plays a lot. In a perfect world I’d love to see with the Yankees next year.”
The Yanks have outfielders Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner and Vernon Wells signed for next season, while Curtis Granderson is a free agent.
Centazzo’s favourite Davis highlight is him throwing out Dustin Pedroia at the plate last June at Fenway Park to protect a 1-0 Jays lead.
Don Edwards, a Red Sox fan from Rhode Island, met Davis at a Connecticut autograph signing years ago and they became friends.
“He adds so much excitement and kills us every time he comes to Boston,” said Edwards, who took his grandson onto the field last year at Fenway as Davis autographed a baseball.
“When Rajai gets on base he plays with everyone’s mind, the focus is drawn to him. Next thing you know there are passed balls, stolen bases,” said Edwards. “He’s a spark, he’s exciting. He’s a popular New England guy. New York and Boston would both want him.
“I would not be happy if he went to New York. I’d love to see him at Fenway.”
Edwards was watching the night Davis made the sliding catch in the left field corner (off Stephen Drew).
“I’m going to have a dream tonight that Rajai will be in Boston next season,” said Edwards.
Bob Coyne and Davis became friends at the Miracle Temple Church in New London. A Yankees fan, Coyne is outnumbered by Red Sox fans at work, a Connecticut state parole office.
Coyne watched with glee as Davis hit a Little League home run, lining a ball off Jon Lester, who threw wildly into foul ground in right as Davis raced to third. He slid in head first then scored when the throw from right fielder Shane Victorino’s hit him in the side and kicked toward the Jays dugout.
“We go at it all the time in the office,” said Coyne. “Watching that infield single and him coming all the way to score was exciting.
“I may be a Yankees fan, but I swear, I never root against Rajai. I support Toronto.”
A year ago the Yankees picked up Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners.
“I was hoping Brian Cashman (Yankees general manager) would go after Rajai,” said Coyne. “If I can get the Steinbrenner family to listen to me I’d tell them to sign him. but there are probably 50,000 Yankees fans in the Bronx who think they know more than I do.”
Coyne’s best Davis memory was when his pal leapt high above the centre field fence to steal a home run Aug. 12 off the bat of Casey McGehee ... a Yankee.
“That catch, in my opinion, was the catch of the year,” said Coyne.
Whether they are Red Sox or Yankees fans, in New London, the are all Davis fans.