Jonathan Davis goes full Superman on this amazing flying catch

June 29th, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG -- Spectacular … and scary.

Those were the words Brewers manager Craig Counsell used to describe Wednesday afternoon’s catch for the ages by center fielder Jonathan Davis, who was removed from the 5-3 win against the Rays after his head slammed into the Tropicana Field wall following a sensational running, diving second-inning grab that robbed Randy Arozarena of extra bases.

Davis was examined by the team trainer, and an emergency cart was brought onto the field. But Davis stayed in the game for the inning’s final two outs. In the third, he was removed with discomfort in his lower back and ribcage.

Even though Davis was long gone when the outcome was decided -- after the Brewers smashed four home runs, two by  -- teammates, coaches and staff members were still buzzing over what most believed was the best catch they had ever witnessed.

“I was just hoping he wasn’t dead,’’ Brewers starting pitcher Eric Lauer said. “I was amazed that he [initially] stayed in the game. Just seeing the way he went into the wall, it was a scary moment for everybody. When a guy leads with his head into anything, it’s not a good sight to see. Thank God he’s OK.’’

Davis, who was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on June 18, was appearing in his seventh game with the Brewers after playing 134 Major League games with the Blue Jays and Yankees from 2018-21. His reputation -- as a fearless, fast defender -- was validated.

“That’s me, that’s my game,’’ said Davis, 30. “I try to go all out, all the time, as the game dictates. That was a tough ball to see initially because of the roof, but I found it, came down and made the play.’’

On a full sprint, Davis left his feet and dived forward near the warning track, backhanded the low line drive, then plowed head-first into the wall. His cap popped off during the collision, but the ball remained in his glove. As Davis remained on the ground, clutching his back and writhing in pain, a confused Arozarena sprinted around the bases, momentarily thinking he had an inside-the-park home run. But the out call was made.

Brewers teammates ran to center field and checked on their teammate. Eventually, Davis said he was OK and waved off the emergency cart. He smiled and joked with teammates, playing the inning’s final two outs, then was lifted from the game as a precaution.

“That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field, honestly,’’ Brewers right fielder Tyrone Taylor said. “I told him, ‘Dude, I’ve never seen anybody do something like that before.’ That was crazy. Absolutely no fear.

“I was really worried at first. When you’re talking about somebody’s head and neck, that’s not good. But there are no words to describe this guy. He even laughed when the trainer told him to look at the scoreboard to make sure he could see the numbers right. He kept saying, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ People will be talking about this catch all season.’’

Davis stopped short of calling it the best play he has ever made.

“It’s up there,’’ Davis said. “I thought it was a pretty good play. I saw the replay. I thought I could’ve gotten a better jump.

“I caught the ball and hit the ground at the same time, which jarred my body. Honestly, most of my attention was the ball. I really wasn’t thinking about the wall, which I probably should’ve been doing. My back hurt pretty bad at first, but as I sat there, I thought, ‘I think I’m good. I can keep playing.’ They wanted to be cautious because it was near my oblique and my ribs. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.’’

Davis, who signed with the Brewers as a free agent last November, said he’s hopeful he won’t miss any time. Either way, his overall attitude has endeared him to teammates in a huge way.

“It shows you how hard that guy plays and the drive he has,’’ Lauer said. “He literally will go through a wall to catch the ball. I thought he was already one of the best outfielders in baseball, but he gets a whole new level of respect from me now. My mind will be at ease with him out there.’’

“I thought he had a chance to make the catch, but from where the ball ended up, for him to get there, to put his body and health at risk, it was brilliant,’’ Counsell said. “It was an incredible catch. Scary and spectacular. Those are the two words I keep coming back to.’’