Monday, August 13, 2012
Rajai Davis' Redemption: The Catch 2.0
By Ian Hunter
With nearly two seasons under his belt with the Blue Jays, I'll admit that I've been a little hard on Rajai Davis. At times, he's been frustrating to watch both on the field and at the plate.
Maybe it was because I was expecting him to be the second coming of Ricky Henderson, maybe it was because I was subconsciously holding him responsible for Travis Snider being blocked to play left field.
Despite those lofty expectations, Rajai Davis has ultimately done what he was brought in to do; steal bases, hit well against left-handed pitching, and hold down the fort in the outfield. But every once in a while, Rajai Davis has put up a web jem.
This time, it was his once in a lifetime catch from yesterday's game. Now, I wasn't privy to watch the game live, but the multiple angle replays of the catch (over here on the BJH Tumblr) probably do the play justice.
At first glance, the difficulty level might not seem that high on Rajai's catch. But if you take those 10-foot walls into consideration, that amps ump the difficulty level considerably.
Because not only did Rajai Davis have to time his jump, he had to time his jump and his plant off the outfield wall in order to get the height to reach the ball.
And to the best of anyone's knowledge, no Blue Jays player has ever pulled a home run ball back at the Rogers Centre/Skydome. And of all people to do it, I honestly never expected it to be Rajai Davis.
Nevertheless, he pulled off one of the catches of the year ... and quite possibly the best catch in Blue Jays franchise history. The obvious conundrum this raises is where does Rajai's catch rank compared to "the catch" by Devon White.
I'll admit that's a very tough question to answer because the stakes were much higher in the 1992 World Series compared to a mid-August game against the Yankees.
The most impressive thing about Devon White's catch is not only did he make the play while crashing into the wall, but Devon had the presence of mind to make a perfect throw back to the infield and hit the cutoff man to start the would-be triple play.
Devon White made that catch look effortless; which was was one of the hallmarks of his career as a centre fielder. As Grumpy Owl points out, Devo was known for making those difficult plays made easy, which is a true sign of a superb outfielder.
Not unlike Devo, Rajai Davis also had many working pieces to his amazing catch. Obviously the timing was the most crucial part to Rajai's play, as he had to time his initial jump, plus the plant on the left field wall.
It really is comparing apples and oranges with these two spectacular catches, so I'm going to have to plead the fifth on this one (even though I'm Canadian). Both plays by Rajai Davis and Devon White were phenomenal.
I guess what I'm trying to say in all this is that for all of Rajai Davis' shortcomings, he certainly has the power to blow us away with this highlight reel catch that will live on for years to come.