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    Default Brotherly blueprint: Mets' J.D. Davis sets example for brother Ben, a Gopher player


    The question people always ask Ben Davis is this: What’s it like having an older brother in the major leagues?

    He’s heard it dozens of times. Usually, those asking want to know if he’s jealous of his brother’s fame – fans running up for autographs, being a hero back home, everything. Ben could be envious but he’s not. He instead sees the hard work and sacrifice, lows and highs, the refusal to be denied.

    “I would say it’s a blueprint to success,” Ben says. “That’s how I see it.”

    His big bro is J.D. Davis, a Mets offseason acquisition who, unlike a few others, has perhaps exceeded expectations. Ben, an offensive lineman at the University of Minnesota, wants to follow J.D.’s path because he dreams of one day playing in an NFL stadium.

    Last season, Ben primarily played special teams at Minnesota. He’s currently working to move up the depth chart, which is no easy task at a Power-5 university that seems to be on the upswing with coach P.J. Fleck at the helm. Everyone is there for a reason – because they’re really strong, really fast, really athletic, or all of the above.

    But see, J.D. has perspective on Ben’s situation because he went through it. When he was in the Astros’ system, J.D. estimates he once had four players ahead of him in the organization. Guys were traded in and out, and drafted. J.D. felt so stuck because he hit 23 homers and drove in 81 runs in Double-A in 2016, yet started the next season in … Double-A.

    J.D. tells Ben: “Just because there’s a few people in front of you doesn’t mean that can affect yourself, your playing time, your mood, your personality, your attitude toward others. It’s a business, it’s a game, so keep working hard.”

    Months ago, Ben recalls, he and J.D. wrestled in a parking lot. The Division I strength and conditioning program, as well as the intense practices, must have paid off because he took down J.D. for the first time in their lives.

    “Ever since then, we don’t really wrestle,” Ben said. “I’ll take that as, yeah, I finally overpowered him.”

    J.D. and Ben are equally involved in each other’s lives. Ben follows every Mets game via the ESPN app. During Minnesota football games, J.D. sends Ben videos of his reactions to Ben’s biggest hits and comments on Ben’s plays. They catch up over text all the time.

    Ben said J.D. always gives him advice when needed. Ask for advice from those you trust. Keep your circle tight. If you’re upset about something, leave it at home and do not bring bad body language to the field.

    When J.D. was grinding through the minors, his supporters used to tell him: “You’re closer than you think you are.” Sure, he wasn’t in the majors, but he was closer than he had ever been in his life. There was something to be said for that, they would tell him.

    That’s what he relays to Ben nowadays. Ben said he’s facing a “difficult” situation with Minnesota’s depth chart and called this the “hardest path I’ve ever taken.” But J.D. always reminds him that he’s only one draft, one free agent signing away from living out his dream.

    “As much as J.D. is an influence on Ben,” Greg said, “I would say Ben has had more of an uphill battle and J.D. has seen that.”

    Go Gophers!!

  2. #2


    Good story, thanks for sharing. I had high hopes for him when they got him but haven't heard much since. Hope he can realize his dream. Best of luck to both of these guys, sounds like they have their heads on straight.

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