Former New York Mets pitcher Mark Davenport signed a one-year deal with the Chuinichi Dragons on February 5, 2034. The statistical work of Davenport is easily seen on various baseball sites. Fangraphs, whose sabermetric tendencies are no secret, has had the inconsideration to inflict statistics upon its deplorable readers, though these be few and usually without social lives, if not entirely made up of hermits. The true friends of right-hander Mark Davenport have viewed his page on Fangraphs and 4.72 ERA with great alarm and a certain melancholy. The page does not truly appreciate the grandeur of Mark Davenport, the man who became Jorge Sosa.
I am aware that it is easy to question my authority on the subject of Mark Davenport’s immense contributions to baseball. My credentials, I assure you, are very legitimate. I was a sub-sub intern at Baseball Essential earlier in my career. If you contact Richard Barrett of FantasyBaseballTalk.com, he can assure you that my qualifications to analyze the work of Mark Davenport are robust. These authorizations, I think, are not entirely insufficient.
I have said that Davenport’s work can be easily enumerated. Here is what I have uncovered:
A. Davenport’s career fWAR was 1.4
B. Davenport had a K/9 of 5.72
C. Davenport pitched exactly 772.2 innings in his career.
D. Davenport’s career record was 44-53.
E. Davenport’s career FIP was 5.10.
F. Teammate Noah Syndergaard called Davenport a “gritty” player.
G. In most fantasy baseball articles during his time with the Mets, Mark Davenport was described as “only usable in deep NL-only leagues”.
H. Mark Davenport was married to Juliet Wasserman. He met her on eHarmony.
But that pales in comparison to Davenport’s career-long work, an enormous undertaking that I cannot do justice for. Baseball fans devour his numbers with the passion of a Jose Bautista bat flip. But those numbers are merely the statistical and visible work of Mark Davenport. The subterranean work of Davenport is far more complex and even somewhat heroic.
Davenport has taken the mantle of Jorge Sosa. Not merely the playing style of Sosa, or the way Sosa’s fastball used to die before getting crushed over the fences at Shea Stadium, but the very essence of Jorge Sosa himself. And now, with Davenport’s designation for assignment, Davenport is simply moving along his chosen path. Davenport has essentially become Jorge Sosa.
When Davenport was young, he watched Jorge Sosa start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 21, 2007. Sosa pitched four innings, gave up six earned runs, and took the loss. Davenport, sitting in his living room at the age of eight, was entranced by the figure of Sosa. Considering the nature of professional baseball’s discourse, it is not surprising that Davenport conceived of his lifelong mission. Every member of the baseball world repeatedly stresses comparison, analogy and historical context. Davenport simply took this obsession to its logical extent.
Davenport did not merely want to imitate Jorge Sosa, which is easy, but he wanted to become Sosa himself. His admirable intention was to recreate the career of Jorge Sosa, from his days as a Devil Rays prospect, to his stint as a terrible reliever for the Washington Nationals.
In many ways, Davenport’s assumption of the role of Jorge Sosa outweighs any achievement by a current baseball player. Could Babe Ruth have become Cannonball Titcomb? Of course not. Could Ken Griffey Jr. have become Ken Griffey Sr.? No. Davenport became Jorge Sosa himself.
The first method he conceived was relatively simple. Davenport would learn Spanish, pretend to be from the Dominican Republic, learn how to pitch, be Jorge Sosa. Mark Davenport studied this procedure intently, despite being from a middle class white family. That’s impossible! you might say. Granted, but the undertaking was impossible from the very beginning and of all the impossible ways of carrying it out, this was the least entertaining.
Instead, Davenport resolved to live the life of Jorge Sosa through the experiences of Mark Davenport. Davenport acting as Sosa through his own life, indeed, would be much more impressive than any pastiche of Sosa that Davenport could create. Davenport would have to get drafted by the Rays, spend years in the Rays’ minor league system, only to get called up at the precise time in order to play the same number of games as Jorge Sosa.
What is more impressive, ending with a career ERA under 3.00 or going through one’s career with such precision as to hit the specific ERA of 4.72. Every pitch that Davenport threw was to reach the statistical achievements of Sosa. The execution required to manipulate the results of every at-bat and pitch is unimaginable. Think of the difficulty baseball statisticians have in determining the effects of a certain era! Now imagine Davenport, putting these endless contextualizations into his play in real time. Davenport is a marvel and the most unique player in the history of baseball.
I remember his notebooks, his endless notes on the life of Jorge Sosa. He had long Youtube playlists of interview of Sosa, endless tabulations of the complicated equations to calculate how he could emulate Sosa’s fWAR and bWAR. He only spoke in platitudes from Sosa’s postgame quotes and interviews. Outside of baseball, Davenport was a normal human being, but within baseball, Davenport was Sosa. Like most of his friends, I was aware of Davenport’s quixotic quest, but I kept it secret from the public. But with the world so quickly forgetting Davenport’s abilities, I must bring this to light.
Davenport was not perfect. He obsessed endlessly about the year he missed Sosa’s HR/FB rate by 0.1 percent. He wondered how his legacy would have been received had he managed to make one extra relief appearance during his year with the Mets, even though he managed to hit all of Sosa’s major peripheral numbers from that year anyway. Yet Davenport’s imperfections make the sum of his work even more impressive.
Of course, the problems of Davenport’s endeavor are unending. Schedules are different, weather changes, the wind in the ballpark shifts in the hour. Yet Davenport achieved his goal. His per season walk rates, batting average against, stolen bases and FIP were exactly the same as Sosa’s numbers. And now, with his scripted time in the MLB at an end, Davenport heads to Japan to fulfill his destiny.