Tireless mother helped Davis fulfill potential

May 4th, 2016
"I would pitch to him whenever he needed," Sonia Alarcon said of her son, A's outfielder Khris Davis. (Davis Family)

OAKLAND -- It's a Sunday afternoon, and Sonia Alarcon is nearing the end of her shift as a concessions worker at Chase Field. A voice echoes through her radio, and she must go. She'll call back within the hour, she says -- and she does, with the little time she has to spare before she must clock in again, just down the street at a Rihanna concert to cap off a 12-hour work day.

Come Monday, Alarcon will wake early to attend to her full-time job at Blue Cross Blue Shield. In November, she'll celebrate being with the company for 20 years, half of that time spent balancing two jobs. The second job, a part-time gig, is more demanding during baseball season.

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"I'm used to the hours," Alarcon said. "I can put in 80 hours a week maybe twice a month."

Alarcon's son, A's outfielder Khris Davis, wasn't exaggerating when he called her a "busy bee."

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"She works a lot," Davis said. "She knows she doesn't have to work two jobs, but she just enjoys it."

"I like to take care of myself, and I don't like to bug anybody for money," Alarcon said. "I'm good."

It's all she knows. Alarcon's parents moved their five children from the Mexican state of Sinaloa to Paramount, Calif., a small city in Los Angeles County, when Alarcon was 4 years old. She watched their tireless work ethic with close attention. Khris, fluent in Spanish like his mom, would do the same.

The outfielder understands the curiosity surrounding his father, longtime big league scout Rodney Davis, that usually accompanies the typical line of questioning from reporters clinging to a feel-good storyline about baseball bonding father and son.

Rodney's role in Khris' grooming as a baseball player was significant. But Rodney, now a senior adviser of MLB's Urban Youth Academy, also saw his scouting job take him on the road a lot, so it was Alarcon who could be found in the family's backyard in Arizona alternating between two shifts: pitching baseballs and shagging them.

This was the job she loved most.

"She played a big role as far as doing the dirty work, the dirty work that no one wants to do," said Khris, flashing his crooked, wry smile. "I'd do this drill where I would toss up a ball and hit it myself, and she would go out there and shag for me. Of course my chores and my homework would have to be done first."

Alarcon would also throw beans to Davis, who would smack them with a broomstick.

"Seems like the second I put a stick in his hand, he knew what to do with it," Alarcon said. "He picked it up really quick, and ever since then, he's just been playing ball and loving it.

"I would pitch to him whenever he needed. Even on a tired day, I would go out there and pitch beans and balls to him. I would just have to remind him not to hit me. He told me I would be OK, and I always was."

Khris, who has two younger siblings, likens himself to his mom; both are shy and reserved. They're homebody types, but extremely restless. The field, Khris says, is his safe haven, mostly because that's where he can stay busy. At home, he immerses himself in movies and video games.

Alarcon is rarely home, and even when she is, the TV is hardly on. Watching Khris' games makes her nervous, so she likes to follow his actions on her phone.

"But when I do see him," she said, "it gives me a big smile."

Alarcon found her part-time gig at Chase Field when Khris left home for a collegiate career at Cal State Fullerton, seeking out work to pay the living expenses that weren't included in his scholarship. Khris maintained a similar working attitude, meanwhile, on the field, an approach that has served him well.

Neither has changed in that regard.

"I don't know if it's even hit me yet that he's playing in the Majors," Alarcon said. "I just sit back and enjoy it. To me, he's still just my child."

And Khris still keeps his power swing intact by occasionally reaching for more beans, even if mom's not around.

"When he was playing Little League, the younger kids would play first, then the older kids would play after, and some of the kids would stay and watch Khris play, and they were just mesmerized by him hitting all these home runs," Alarcon recalled. "I told him, 'There are some kids that stay and watch your home runs. I think that's just the neatest thing.'"