By Jackson White
-- Marcus Davis has truly come full-circle. Davis, a Cincinnati born and raised man, truly knows what it means to be a Redskin. Davis has been on each side of the spectrum from former Midland and professional player, to now coach of the 17U Braves. Davis recently sat down to ‘catch up’ with the Midland family.
Davis grew up not too far from Midland. He attended Princeton high school, where he played basketball along with baseball and he discussed the early portion of his baseball career.
“I started out like everybody kind of does with the t-ball stuff, which was like 2-3 minutes from my house. Once I turned nine, it was my first year of doing travel ball, where I played for the Cincinnati Flames for a little while.” This was the first time Davis had the opportunity to play baseball more seriously. Kris Glazier, a former Midland coach, introduced him to Midland. Davis said “Funny enough I was hesitant about it.” So Davis said he “Ended up playing for a different team and that team fell apart about midway through the summer. Then Glaze added me to Midland for the rest of my fifteen-year-old summer.” Davis played for Glaze for two years, and then played for the Redskins for two years. Davis said “That’s really when I figured out that baseball was what I was going to be doing in college and hopefully as a professional later on.”
Speaking about his basketball career Davis said, “I always tell people, basketball was my first love. I was always playing with my friends in the neighborhood and we were always hooping somewhere.” Davis said that from a young age, most of his memories with sports involved basketball. Playing basketball gave him the opportunity to go outside of Cincinnati and play in different areas. He was on a pretty good team in high school that won a lot of games and went to the state finals during his junior year. Davis really appreciates having two sets of teammates that he talks to from time to time. He said “I don’t know if too many people are lucky enough to have fond memories of two sports and I am able to say that I still have relationships with some of the guys I played with.”
Since Davis played a few years for Midland, he has a decent amount of memories from his time with the program. He was able to talk about some of those memories, including some of the ones that still hold significance to him today.
Davis said “I think one of the things I really came to appreciate is how much Midland prepared me for college with practicing every day, playing a game every day, and understanding what it was like to travel on the road.” Davis said that he still has some really good relationships with the guys he played with during his time playing at Midland. As far as a specific favorite memory, Davis said “Farmington as a whole.” He added “The Connie Mack World Series was really the first taste of playing in front of a lot of people and having that many eyes on you, which doesn’t happen too often here in Cincinnati.” Davis said “I think we played against two or three first round picks while we were out there, which definitely helped me get prepared for college baseball and then for professional baseball.”
Davis had the opportunity to speak about “Papa” Joe Hayden and what he meant to him during his time playing in the Midland program. He said that Papa Joe was always tough, but fair on the baseball field and that he had high expectations for his players. But Davis really got to know the true character of Papa Joe when he was involved in a car accident before baseball practice when he was seventeen years old. Davis said “You never really know about someone until a situation like that occurs and he couldn’t have been nicer about what happened.” Davis noted “It’s kind of a weird tale, and I might be one of the only players to have that type of story about him, but that’s the one that sticks out for me because the first thing he did was check on me and my well-being, and my other teammate in the car, Mason Williams. Papa Joe taking the time to make sure we were OK as people, kind of always stuck with me.”
Davis was able to share his overall college baseball experience and what it was like transferring from one high major baseball program to another high major baseball program.
He said “I think the biggest thing that I learned, that I now try to instill in people is that if you aren’t ready for maybe a school that might be too big for you, or a situation that that might be too difficult, that it’s more important that you try to be a little real with yourself when it comes to situations like that and you don’t try to chase other people’s goals.” He continued “I know it’s a little bit different now because you’re able to transfer, and that’s kind of how kids sometimes deal with their issues, which is a side that I understand.” But he said “If you can find a place where the transferring part isn’t necessary, although it might not be the best school on the list, it could still be great for you.”
Davis continued, “As far as dealing with some of the kids who want to transfer now, I think I was one of the luckier ones when it came to that. Most of the time when you leave a school, it’s to go a level down. Obviously, that didn’t happen with me. I would say the first choice is pretty much the most important because there’s always a benefit to staying at one place. Building relationships, moving towards a degree and all that good stuff. It’s basically making the choice that feels right for you, not the choice that feels right for other people.”
Davis had the unique experience of playing for the Redskins to now coaching in the program. He shared what it has been like to coach for the organization he wore the jersey for and played in.
“When I was seventeen and eighteen years old I had no clue what I was thinking outside of being in the big leagues one day. Being in the big leagues was really the main aspiration I had for myself in the future.” Davis continued “Being back has been really fulfilling because when I was a teenager playing for Midland, it was easy to lose track of all the things Midland really did for me. To be back and to see what some of the kids are dealing with now, and trying to help them navigate has been a really rewarding experience for me.”
Marcus will soon be turning thirty years old and he reflected on the wisdom he has to share as a coach based on his experience as a player. He said “It’s nice to be able to be a helping hand because I’ve been on the other side of it. It’s a nice way to spend my time on the baseball field, being around all of the talented players and trying to help them get ready for the college level and for some, even beyond that into the professional level.”
Davis currently lives with his daughter Zoe, who recently turned one, and his girlfriend Aimee Barnes, who he credits with helping him transition from a player to a coach. Davis will continue his work this summer with the 17u Midland Braves, and he hopes to continue impacting more young men throughout their journey in life and baseball. Davis and his efforts have been felt throughout and the entire program, and he has been and will continue to be a key part of the Midland program’s success moving forward.