My name is Khris Davis. I'm an outfielder for the Oakland A's, and for me, it all starts with my parents. They are my role models, and they taught me that hard work pays off. They also showed me that happiness is important and is worth pursuing.
Mom was always there to take me to my games, and even if I didn't want to play that day, she would hold me accountable to show up for my teammates. She was willing to throw batting practice to me when I was little and think outside of the box by pitching beans to me. I would just hit those beans with a stick for hours and hours. She showed me how to work. Even now, she has a full-time job and then does other part-time jobs, because that's just who she is. You can still find her working concessions at Chase Field sometimes.
:: Me In Real Life - More stories ::
Dad was a big league scout and an amazing coach. I got to see a lot of players, meet a lot of superstars at an early age, and what I remember the most is him teaching me to watch how they did it. I learned a lot by watching Ken Griffey Jr., who was like this mythical Greek god to everybody, and A-Rod, who had this swing that was just so smooth for a righty. Nomar Garciaparra was a grinder, a tough guy, and someone I could relate to. He also did a lot of little things in his routine when he was at the plate that were a bit different. I can get weird about my routine and my moves, too. I think just being locked in, you forget that everybody's around you, watching you, and you do all these things that might look crazy from the outside, but I don't even know I'm doing it.
I definitely need to be focused to succeed. I've heard people describe it as me going "dark" or "monster," but it's just me being locked in. It takes a lot of breathing practice to get to that point and just a willingness to surrender and not worry about results, because that's where a lot of doubt comes from. It's about attitude and willpower and quieting the distractions to get to that place. I train at a boxing gym because I can get locked in there, and there are a lot of similarities between the sports. A pitcher and a hitter against each other is almost like a boxing match.
My teammates get it. Everybody in the clubhouse has my back when it comes to playing ball, so I enjoy going to the field every day with our group of guys. Stephen Vogt is a really awesome guy and just righteous to the tee. Marcus Semien is my go-to guy. We spent some time together this offseason working out at Cal and in the cage talking more than just baseball. He knows me as a person.
My manager Bob Melvin is a weird, fun NorCal, Bay Area person. He loves it up here. I think when it comes to handling our clubhouse, everybody respects what he has to say, and we have to go out there and play hard for him. He expects us to play the game the right way. What more can you ask for in a manager?
I've loved Oakland since Day 1. There's lot of history here, and I can tell you firsthand there is a lot is going on and a lot more than meets the eye. It's a fun and eclectic place, but it's a really humble city at heart.
It's complex and I think I'm complex, but at the same time, we are all trying to just keep it easy, laid back and trying to be cool in any situation. It's hard-working and a little under the radar, which is fine, too. We know who we are here.
This is a very interesting fan base, too. They've always got my back. And to the Coliseum drummers out there each game -- there's more than one -- I want them to know I enjoy them thoroughly. I think it puts pressure on the other team and it helps me focus. The beat of the drum and the music just helps. It always has.
That's because music is part of my everyday life and I depend on it. There's a special place in my heart for music, and it just distracts my brain from results, good or bad. Every failure I've ever had, I've depended on music to take the pain away. Tupac, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are probably my favorites right now.
I also have this tattoo on my back, a stealth bomber, that helps keep me in a good place. I know people see it and think it's about me being under the radar and hitting a bunch of bombs. It's actually a tribute to my uncle, an artist who had this mural on his wall, and I just loved it as a kid. It's the one tattoo that takes me back to my "kid place," and allows me to think back to the fun times I had with my uncle and family. Those memories help me focus on what's important. I think it would help anybody to just be able to go to that "kid place," the time when you are 12 years old and happy without all of the distractions. I believe finding that place and staying young is the key to living life.
It's simple, really. It's just about finding happiness and embracing what is important. I've found that here in Oakland and I'm locked in.