Saturday, June 21, 2008

(LHP) Daniel Davidson - Arkansas Travelers

Interview Conducted by Columnist - David Saltzer

On June 1st, Daniel Davidson returned to the Arkansas Travelers after returning from extended Spring Training. Daniel had been rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery last year for a variety of ailments.

Originally drafted in the 13th round of the 2003 Amateur Draft, Daniel led the Pioneer League in ERA while at Orem and finished third in the league in wins. In 2004, the lefty led the league in starts and finished third in the league in wins. Davidson led the 2005 Travelers in wins with 13 (making him second in the league). After a difficult year in 2006, Daniel had the honor of throwing the first pitch ever Dickey-Stephens Park, home of the Travlers. He was posting great numbers last year when he was shut down due to injuries.

Since his return this year, Daniel is off to a good start with a 1.17 ERA. With the emergence of many new offensive players, and with the return of Davidson and others, the Travelers captured the 1st half Division title making a great comeback from 8 under 500!

While Daniel Davidson may be new to many on the board, for some, he is no stranger. Many on here were lucky enough to meet him in person during Spring Training when he stopped by to meet the crowd.

Now that he’s back to pitching, it’s time to catch up with him again and to get to know him better. When did you start playing baseball?

Daniel Davidson: The earliest memories that I have of baseball are playing catch with my grandfather while he was sitting in his recliner. But organized baseball was around the age of 5. Have you always pitched?

Daniel Davidson: I pitched a little in little league and then when I turned 13 I started to pitch a lot more. I actually played all over the field more when I was younger. Great! What was your biggest accomplishment as a player growing up?

Daniel Davidson: I have two and both are from high school. I pitched in a game that my high school (Mosley High School Panama City, FL) beat Tate High from Pensacola, FL and they were the number 1 team in the state and top 5 in the country and then, in my senior year, helping lead our team to the state runner up. We were terrible the year before that. So I guess helping turn my high school program back around. That definitely is something to be proud of. Who would you say was the most influential in your pursuit to the big leagues?

Daniel Davidson: My grandfather. He is someone that has always been behind me in anything that I do. Now my wife and daughter are my driving force to get there. It sounds like you had a special relationship with your grandfather.

Daniel Davidson: Yeah, he was and is still a big part of my life. He helped my mom raise me for the most part. I talk to him about every 3 or 4 days or so. If I can be half the man he is, I will live a good life. Who was your favorite baseball player when you were growing up?

Daniel Davidson: Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones. Easy. So, I'm guessing you were a Braves fan growing up.

Daniel Davidson: Yeah I WAS. What has been your best 1-game performance in your career to date?

Daniel Davidson: That’s a tough question. Maybe the one that I had the other night to help win the first half title. I threw 4 and 1/3 with 1 run, 2 hits, and 6 strikeouts. It meant so much to this team that night. Who was it against?

Daniel Davidson: Springfield, the team we were battling against to win the first half. What part of your game do you take the most pride in?

Daniel Davidson: Throwing strikes. What part of your game needs the most improvement?

Daniel Davidson: More velocity would be nice. But other than that, getting my slider to have a sharper bite. What's been your favorite city to visit?

Daniel Davidson: Springfield, MO. The fans there absolutely love that team, maybe because it’s the Cardinals Double-A team. And they know the game. What is your favorite hotel chain to stay in?

Daniel Davidson: Embassy Suites, even though we don’t stay in one anymore. And the worst hotel experience you've had?

Daniel Davidson: I couldn’t tell you one other than the hotels in the Pioneer League aren’t the best. What has been your favorite field to play on so far?

Daniel Davidson: Angel Stadium. In the minors maybe Frisco and Springfield. Who has been the best player you've played with in the minors--both at the plate and on the mound?

Daniel Davidson: That’s tough to choose just one. Howie Kendrick was a phenomenal hitter. He can just flat out hit. Mathis, Napoli, Willits and Morales are all not to shabby themselves. On the mound, I got to watch Santana throw for a month or so in 2005 he was fun to watch pitch. Those are some good players. Who has been the best player that you've played against both at the plate and on the mound?

Daniel Davidson: Felix Hernandez in 2004 in the Cal League and then the hitter would be Alex Gordon. In the clubhouse, dugout or on the bus traveling to other cities, what was one of the most hilarious pranks you've either been a part of or witnessed?

Daniel Davidson: Some good ones--not going to use any names but I saw someone have another player’s bats sawed in half and then put them back into his locker like they were so when the player grabbed them to go hit he was a little upset. Also, I saw someone sewing the bottom of someone’s pant legs up so that when he went to put his feet in them he fell down or stumbled around. In our old clubhouse at Ray Winder someone nailed plywood up to the side of another guy’s locker so that he couldn’t get into it. Those are some good pranks. Of course you just observed these . . .

Daniel Davidson: Actually I really did observe all of them. I can’t keep secrets very well when I did something like that.

The Lighter Side of Daniel Davidson If there is one thing people should know about Daniel Davidson the person, it is . . .

Daniel Davidson: That young children have a soft spot in my heart. Maybe because my daughter is only 21 months old and when I see them I give them a baseball if they ask for it. One more thing to add is that God is important in my life. That's very generous of you. Kids always appreciate the players who go the extra mile like that or stay long for autographs.

Daniel Davidson: I think they do. What do you like to do besides playing baseball? What's your hobby?

Daniel Davidson: Umm, besides being with my family. I attempt to play golf (its funny how bad I am) and watching Florida State football. What's your favorite food?

Daniel Davidson: Tacos and burritos. From where?

Daniel Davidson: Taco Bell and then this little hometown place called Taco Casa. What kind of music do you listen to? What's in your CD player/Ipod right now?

Daniel Davidson: Country and Christian music. Cd player in the car has this CD that has a bunch of different country songs What TV shows do you watch?

Daniel Davidson: CSI:Miami and Sportscenter/Baseball Tonight. What's your all-time favorite movie?

Daniel Davidson: Karate Kid easy. What's your most visited website?

Daniel Davidson: MILB and Speaking of websites, what do you think of

Daniel Davidson: I really like it. I think it is great that the Angels have fans out there that are interested in more than just the big league team. It is run great as well. How did you like hanging with the fans from the site in Spring Training?

Daniel Davidson: It was very cool. Like I said you guys on the website love the Angels and their organization. It was great to get to meet other fans than the ones we meet in our cities. Besides your wife, daughter, grandfather and mother, who will you call first when you get promoted to the big leagues?

Daniel Davidson: If I could would be God. Then after my family I have three friends. Scott Bostwick, Keith Moody and his dad James and Eddie Cannon. Well, that about wraps it up for the interview. On behalf of all the Angels fans, thanks for taking the time to chat with us and for sharing things about your life. We're all rooting for you and look forward to when you make your ML debut.

Daniel Davidson: Thank you very much and I definitely appreciate what you guys do.
Love to hear what you think!

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