More than two years after the Cubs scapegoated hitting coach Chili Davis, the Mets’ current hitting coach took a shot at his one-time Chicago employers.
Who asked him?
Nobody. That was the beauty of it.
Because it spoke to the sincerity, if not the truth.
Asked about the value of coaching again in person this year after “coaching” remotely from home last summer because of COVID-19 concerns, Davis talked before Wednesday’s game about the value of personal chats and “a trust factor here.”
“And I enjoy it because I left a place where there was no trust factor with me and the hitters there,” he added. “So this is a breath of fresh air for me right here.
Then the three-time All-Star with 350 career homers and .360 on-base percentage went on to talk about the Mets hitters some more.
The Cubs said they hired the three-time World Series champ and longtime hitting coach after the 2017 season to help the approaches of some of the young, talented hitting core — then fired him after one season when hitters such as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo “didn’t connect” with the message he was hired to deliver.
Then-team president Theo Epstein said “the offense broke” in the second half of that 2018 season, and Davis became the fifth hitting coach fired by Epstein in seven years.
Davis was not out of work for long. And whatever anybody might think of the Mets offensive production since Davis took over, the Cubs’ continuing issues that have brought that young core to the brink of demolition have at least vindicated him.
Not that he was asking for any vindication.
“I know what I know. And I know what I bring is not wrong,” Davis said the day he left Chicago after being fired. “I’m not going to blame myself for this. I’m not going to blame anyone. It didn’t work.”
And since he brought it up Wednesday, here’s what else he said that October day in 2018:
“Regardless of who’s [the hitting coach], certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments, because the game’s changed,” he said, “and pitchers are pitching them differently. They’re not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore.”
Fast-forward back to Wednesday. And, again, since Davis brought it up, he was asked a followup on the Cubs.
“I want to beat them, probably as much as any other team,” he said.
And about all those problems the Cubs have had hitting baseballs as a team through last year’s abbreviated season and much of the early going this year?
“I don’t know what the problems are over there,” he said. “What I saw that went on over there, I voiced it. And I voiced it to leadership before they fired me. But that’s in the past.
“There’s some good guys over there. I don’t wish them any ill. And they’ve lost a lot of players that were there when I was there,” he added, praising Albert Almora, who’s now with the Mets.
“They’re in a revamping stage right now, but I’m sure they’re still trying to win. And they still have a good ballclub. … You can’t underestimate them. And whatever problem’s going on there internally with them, that’s not my problem. That’s none of my business.”