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Big League Stew

Diamondbacks’ Matt Davidson named MVP of Futures Game after homering

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(Getty)

NEW YORK — If you hit a home run at a Major League Baseball stadium, it's kind of like pulling a fire alarm on a starship. Sirens go off, lights blare, pyrotechnics explode and people scream. And, at Citi Field, a giant apple is activated.

Not that Matt Davidson of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization noticed. When he went deep for a two-run homer Sunday at the MLB Futures Game, Davidson slipped into his own little world, like he usually does.

"I've actually hit a couple of home runs this year and stopped at second base," Davidson said. "I'm not really good at pimping them."

Davidson kept going this time, eventually realizing what he had done, and started to enjoy it by the time he got to third base — even if he missed the apple lighting up.

"I didn't actually see it," Davidson said. "I was trying to put it all together — like, 'What is going on here?' — and I couldn't help but smile coming around third."

Davidson had it together enough to be named MVP of the annual top-prospect game, which the U.S. won 4-2, beating the World team.

"It makes you want to work harder and play in a stadium like this," said Davidson, who plays at Class AAA Reno. "The ball looks a little bigger here. Today it did. Sometimes it probably won't."

Davidson's batting helmet and gloves are being donated to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which wanted his bat too, but he wanted to keep it for the home run derby in Reno on Monday for the Triple-A All-Star Game.

No matter where Davidson is playing ball, he usually runs hard after he hits the ball unless he's positive that he "got all of it."

"I'm slow, so my first thought is, I've got to get to second base, at least," said Davidson, who ripped a hanging changeup from Oakland Athletics right-hander Michael Ynoa to left-center, giving the U.S. a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

"A changeup ran into my barrel. Luckily I use a longer bat so it hit the end of it," Davidson added.

So he's prudent on the basepaths and humble in the postgame interviews. Sounds like a guy who is wise beyond his 22 years. Davidson also seems older because of his major league hair/beard combination. There's nothing about Davidson's hair and beard that needs more seasoning in the minors. It's major league ready now:

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(Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic)

Davidson grew up in Yucaipa, Calif. and played on the same high school team as Taijuan Walker, a Futures teammate who pitches for the Mariners organization. Walker (presumably but obviously) colors his hair blond. Davidson swears he was born with white blond hair, and what's on top of his head today is a remnant of it.

"A lot of people think I dye it because it's a different color than the rest of my head," Davidson said. "But no, I don't. It's super-thick and it's tough and it kind of goes everywhere. I've been asked about it a lot while I've been on the East Coast.

"Honestly, that's how it is, man."

Hey, don't apologize, bud. It's great hair. Better than any of the other prospects in the room. But what about the beard?

"I started shaving when I was, like, 14. It was crazy," Davidson said. "My dad taught me how to shave and I had more facial hair than all of the seniors. I remember Coach [Jeff] Stout making me shave. I had to be clean-shaven in high school to be on the team. And they say, the more you shave it, the faster it grows back."

Davidson is batting .291/.354/.500 with 14 homers and 24 doubles for Reno. Someday soon, he'll get a major league shot with the D-backs. Much about him — not the least of which is Davidson's hair — is ready.

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