Rangers Minor League pitcher Beau Vaughan tells you everything he knows… and more
Chip off the ole block
Okay. I tried to talk ‘Pirate’ into a little chat. Didn’t take. But he was kind enough to take me in as a roommate and chauffeur me around like his kid brother. And I must say, his couch is more than comfortable. You see, sometimes when we move teams, we have to live out of one suitcase with just five shirts for weeks at a time. So, even if I smell like Robert Downey Jr. circa 1996, I am indebted for the roof he has put over my head. Therefore, I won’t bust his balls for not talking to me on the record.
So, who is there to talk to? Perhaps someone who has been a member of the Rangers for the vast majority of the season. Maybe a guy who was recently sent down to Oklahoma City and has been tearing the cover off the ball since. Ladies and gentlemen, his mother doesn’t even call him Chris any more. His name is Chip Davis.
Setting: Chris and I sit at the desk in Greg Golson and Kevin Richardson’s Albuquerque hotel room. Golson is trying out the new NCAA 2010 on PS3. And the various college fight songs are chiming throughout the room. K-Rich is on his computer, doing whatever. We just got beat by an astronomical amount, which I contributed to. Ah, thank you. And, here we go…
BV: Alright, we’re recording. We’re recording. Chip Davis, how’d you get the nickname ‘Chip’?
CD: Ohhhh. Well, last year, when I was in triple A, I have a contract with Rawlings, for gloves. And I asked them to send me some bats because I’d used a couple of Hank Blalock’s when he was rehabbing, a couple weeks before I got called up. So, I called Rawlings and said, ‘Hey, will you send me a couple of,’ I don’t even know what the model number is, ‘bats.’ And they said, ‘Yeah.’ Well, they sent ’em to Arlington, thinking that I would’ve already been there. Which was a little bit off. But instead of having ‘Chris Davis’ on the barrel, they had ‘Chip Davis.’ Well, those bats just happened to land in Michael Young’s locker, which was probably not the best thing. He then took them out and had a good laugh with everyone. And so, when I got called up, they all started calling me ‘Chippie.’ And I asked them ‘why’? And they told me that story. And I was like, ‘Oh, OK. Cool.’ And he’s like, ‘Come on, dude. You got a Rawlings contract, and they don’t even know you’re name?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’ll happen.’ So, that’s… that’s how it pretty much all started off.
KR: Oh, Chippie.
CD: Oh, oh, Chippie the lip. (K-Rich giggles like a little school girl in the background) (Chip laughs)
BV: I love it. Um, tell me a story.. Make me laugh. You told us a story in the locker room tonight. I’m not going to ask you to repeat that one. But tell us another story.
CD: Um, I gotta think of a ‘G’ rated, or at least ‘PG’ rated…
BV: It doesn’t have to be ‘G’ or ‘PG’ rated. I told you. Just let it fly. (Physical act of love)!
CD: Alright, we’ll go… (laugh) No, I can’t. Alright, we’ll do this one. Spokane, my first professional season, half a season. Whatever. We’re playing in Vancouver. And I was like… I was drafted as a first baseman, and they put me in left field. Which is probably the worst thing they could have ever done. Because I am a terrible outfielder. I played a little bit of right back in the day, like 10-year-old all-stars, you know? But like never left field, which I think is the hardest position in the outfield to play. So, we’re playing left field in Vancouver, which is just basically like a party every game. Like, everybody just has a great time. Like, real good fans. Like, they’re always into the game. Well, I dropped a crucial fly ball late in the game. And, they wore me out. They were chanting ’19,’ which was my number in Spokane the whole time. The next day, I walked to the field, or got to the field. We had a 10 o’clock start, really early. And I didn’t get back from the night before ’til about seven o’clock. Well, the vans left at seven thirty. So, I basically showered, grabbed my stuff, and got on the van. Was in no shape to play. Just completely out of it. And, our manager walks up to me and is like, ‘Are you alright? Are you feeling OK?’ And I’m like, ‘I feel alright.’ He was like, ‘Well, you need to suck it up. Because you’re going out there today.’ And he was like, ‘I’m not going to let you get off easy.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, here we go.’ So, I go up there first at-bat. And for some particular reason this day, they felt the need to hit everything to left field. And I made some catches that I probably shouldn’t of made. But, first at-bat, first pitch, I’m just like (firetruck) it. I’m just going to swing. Who cares. Doesn’t matter. First at-bat, first pitch, tater. And this is Vancouver, which is not the easiest park to hit a home run in. Tater to right field. I’m like, ‘Alright, cool. One for one.’ I’m like good. Come up next at-bat, I’m like alright, ‘Cool.’ See a couple pitches. Like fourth pitch of the at-bat, tater! I’m like, ‘Oh, (excrement).’ Another home run. Like, I’ve hit two home runs today. My day is set. You know, we’re up by, like eight runs. It’s like the fourth of fifth inning. I’m like, ‘We’re golden.’ Third at-bat, they bring in this lefty, who has apparently done really well against lefties the whole season. And I’ve always hit lefties well. But this particular day, I was not feeling too confident against this guy. You know, threw low 90’s, good slider. Good pitcher. First pitch, change-up, low and away. Tater to center field. So, I’m like jogging around the bases. I’m like, ‘This is the greatest day of my life.’ Like, I’m three for three with three home runs. So, I go up there the last at-bat, and everybody’s cheering for me. All the fans are, like, standing up, clapping. I absolutely drive a pitch to right field. The right fielder like goes back, puts his arm on the wall, and looks up. And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Like four for four with four home runs. Reaches up and catches it against the wall. The crowd gave me like a standing ovation. They gave me like 75 bucks, or a 100 bucks, or something. Because nobody had done it in like 75 years there. So, that was one of like, probably one of the craziest games ever. But, our manager, who will remain nameless, walks up to me after the game, and he’s like, ‘Don’t ever pull that (poop) again.’ Like you know, ‘You played a great game. But don’t ever do that again.’ I’m like, ‘Alright, (firetruck) it.’ Cool, whatever.
BV: I think… And you know, not to condone any kind of behavior like that, but I think we need to do that more often as baseball players. (A little bit of a contradiction there, granted) One time, I came to a game. And our clubbie had a breathalyzer. I blew a .(make up a number) before the game.
BV: Came in. Five pitch save. Sorry bout it. How ya doin’?
CD: Well, that’s the thing about it, man. Like the season’s so long, you know. When you play a hundred and what, 42, games… It’s day-in day-out. You know, a grind. You’re gonna have some days where, you know, you just… You go out there, and you’re not feeling your best. You know, sometimes those are your best games. But it wasn’t intentionally like I was going to go out and just be a wreck. Like not be in any shape to play. It was just, you know, last night in Vancouver. We had a good time. We hung out, whatever. And, you know, do I encourage that? Absolutely not because I don’t think it’s respectful to the game, or to your teammates, or to anybody else. But, you know, it does happen. It’s a part of it.
BV: Nice save right there. You’re right about that. Um, alright, this is a little, uh… Cause I know you get asked about it all the time.
CD: Um hmm.
BV: Well, I mean you did when you were with the big club earlier.
CD: Are we going to talk about strikeouts right now?
BV: Kind of.
CD: Alright, whatever.
BV: What would you like to do to all the reporters that ask you about strikeouts? Because reporters know the game very well. Obviously, they’ve strapped it on.
BV: And played. And they know what it’s like. (By the way, if you couldn’t tell, that was reeking with sarcasm)
CD: Well, it just bothers me because I know they have a job to do. And I understand that. And I respect that. But, at the same time, when you’re asking the same questions day-in and day-out, like what are you getting at? You know what I’m saying? Well, and it’s like, you’ve asked me the question about, you know, am I worried about setting the strikeout record? And I’ve already given you an answer. Why are you going to ask me a day later when I have two more strikeouts? Like, obviously, I’m on pace to break a record. And it’s not slowing down. Like, the answer’s not going to change. And I just don’t understand why they’re beating a dead horse. And that’s the only thing that frustrates me. Guys would come in day-in and day-out, and say, ‘Are you worried about strikeouts?’ And I would give them the same answer. ‘No, I’m not worried about strikeouts.’ You know, I got bigger fish to fry. You know, an out’s an out. Yeah, I’ve been striking out. I get that. I struck out 161 times last year. I also hit .310 with 40 jacks. Like, I don’t care how many times I strike out as long as I’m producing. My big concern was I’m not producing with runners in scoring position or with anybody on. I mean, I wasn’t doing my job. And that was the biggest thing for me. That’s the only thing that bothers me. It seems like they ask you the same questions to try to get underneath your skin. And to be honest with you, I would tell this to a room full of people. You’re not going to get underneath my skin. You might when I’m frustrated in the middle of a game. But I will never show it. And that’s just one thing, thank goodness, I’ve been gifted with. And it’s just not ever going to change. I been able to always keep my composure as far as speaking since I’ve played baseball. That’s something that I don’t think is ever going to change, and something I think I have good control over. Now, me saying that… Somebody’s probably coming out of the woodwork, you know, trying to get me to lash out. But I’m not going to take that route.
BV: No, I was going for a completely different thing. My deal with sports reporters, sports writers, what have you. It goes back to the old joke. What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the sea? Well, I’m going to substitute sports reporters. What do you call a thousand sports reporters at the bottom of the sea?
CD: A thousand sports reporters at the bottom of the sea?
CD: I got nothing.
BV: It’s a good start.
CD: There it is.
BV: Alright, last one. I’m gonna ask you this. You’re in Arlington this year. Right? Now, I’m a closet position player. Like, if I could give anything to go back to high school or whatever, and the coach asks, ‘Hey, who can pitch?’ I wouldn’t raise my (firetrucking) hand.
BV: Because, damn it. I want to play. Alright. I wanna hit. I wanna do all that. And I know when you connect with the ball. Like, you make that absolute sweet contact. Like, the ball feels like it never touches your bat. And you see that (bodily waste) going out. I mean, short of a (coitus climax), (number 2) when you really need it, and (number 1) when you really need it… That is right up there. I want to know. Bottom of the ninth, whatever it was. 99 mile-an-hour fastball from Brandon Morrow, up in the zone. And Chris Davis connects with the walk-off. Pimps the (excretory) out of it. (Chip laughs) What does that feel like?
CD: Dude, it was awesome because I had been struggling. But, it was one of those games where it started out really bad. And I’d had a few games before that where I was hitting the ball hard. But I wasn’t getting anything out of it. And I’m just like, you know, not trying to focus on any of the results. Like, worrying about the process. You know, whatever. And that game, Felix (Hernandez) is on the mound. First two at-bats, I think I popped up and struck out. And I was just like, ‘Here we go again.’ Third at-bat, hit a ball to left field. I’m like, ‘Alright, there we go.’ When I hit the ball the other way, hard on a line, I know I’m starting to figure it out. And things are starting to get better. And then they brought in Morrow. And I think there were two on. It was three to one. There were two on and two out. And I just remember I kept looking at Dave Anderson. He was my manager in ’07 in Frisco. And I kept looking at him, and he was just going like this (moves his hands in a settling motion towards the ground). And I thought he was telling me to calm down. But he was saying, ‘See the ball down.’ Well, me thinking he was saying calm down, I was just breathing. And like, I was very loose at the plate. So, I’m like first pi
tch, ball up. Second pitch, ball up. Third pitch, I think I fouled off. And I don’t remember if it was 2-1, 3-1. But I just kept telling myself, ‘See it up, out over the plate.’ And he threw it. He threw a fastball up and out over the plate. And I just remember swinging. And when I hit it, I’m like, ‘Oh, (feces). I got that.’ And I hit it. I kind of topped it a little bit. But it was so high, I was like, ‘I got it.’ So I (firetrucking) did my whole bat flip. You know, look in the dugout like I was pumped up. And I remember touching first and looking up. And seeing the ball go in the stands. And I was just like, ‘Oh, (crap).’ It was almost like everything around me just got completely quiet. And I was just running the bases. And I remember looking down and hitting second base. And like, I didn’t want to look up at third base. Because I knew Dave was going to be (firetrucking) like (Chip makes a weird noise I did not understand as a form of celebration). And I knew I didn’t want to look at home because they were all (firetrucking) jumping around. So I remember looking down at my feet, and I thought to myself. I was like, ‘Holy (excrement). I just hit a (firetrucking) walk-off.’ Like, at home. You know, I was struggling, so it was big for me. I touched third, and I looked up at home. And all these dudes are jumping around. I’m like, ‘Oh, (take a guess).’ And I went to go helmet toss. Because everybody’s like, ‘Throw your lid.’ And I ended up throwing the (illegitimate male pup of a female dog) half way to (firetrucking) first base. And I flipped the (opposite of heaven) out of it. And jumped up. And (firetrucking) touched the plate. Dude, it was awesome. It always feels good when you nut a ball. When you just center one and absolutely crush it. Like, ‘Oh, I got that.’ You start trotting around the bases. when the game’s on the line and your adrenaline’s pumping, it’s a joke, dude. I don’t even know how to put it into words. Just (firetrucking) like, it’s one of those things. Seriously like hitting my first little league home run. Like, ‘Whoa. This is tight. I don’t know what the (firetruck) to do.’ (Firetruck) it!
BV: That was… awesome. Alright, I think that’s going to do it for the interview. I think we’re going to sit here and watch Golson wreck shop on Florida with U.T. There goes Golson! No, he’s tackled. Chipper, thank you, man. Appreciate it.
CD: Yes, sir.
Now, it’s time to do a little back-peddling. I am not adverse to all sports reporters. Lisa Winston and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, who were the ones to put me in charge of this little blog, are solid. The rest of you, well… You’re going to have to win me over. I’m sure that’s towards the top of your priority list.
As for the extracurricular activities Chip and I made mention of, that stuff happens when you’re young and out on your own in pro ball for the first time. You think you can party like a rock star. It doesn’t happen often then. And even less as you get older and realize how much this game means. But, it does make for interesting stories down the road.
Big thanks to Chip Davis, who will be appearing at a ballpark in Arlington very soon. Because he’s raping triple A pitchers. Not literally. That would be illegal, immoral, and just flat out gross. Besides, I don’t think he’s into dudes. But on the mound, you know what I mean.