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Behind the plate

The other, other Ben Davis

Mark Christopher Davis - no, that's not my full name. It's the name of the man who ruined my life.

Well, maybe that's stretching it a little, but he sure made it harder for me to answer to Ben Davis.

Why, you ask?

To answer that question we have to go back in time, all the way to Dec. 11, 2001.

Davis was involved in a transaction, a trade you might say. This trade included Davis, Alex Arias and Wascar Serrano on one side, for Brett Tomko, Tom Lampkin and Ramon Vazquez on the other.

The deal also included some money, but that's not really important to the story.

The two sides involved? The San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners.

That Davis, who goes by Ben Davis, would change the way people looked at this Ben Davis forever, or at least until he retires and people forget who he ever was.

On that day, the Mariners got a switch-hitting catcher from San Diego, and I got a new way for people to remember me, albeit one I didn't ask for or really even want.

I've never played baseball on a team a day in my life. I never played tee ball. I never played Babe Ruth. I've never even played on a recreational softball or college intramural team. And as sad as it may sound to some, I don't even follow the Mariners, most seasons.

So being associated with baseball is something I could gladly live without.

It's not like I was totally oblivious to Ben Davis the catcher. I knew he existed, so did a few of my friends. We made jokes and laughed about it.

Deep down, part of me always hoped he'd never come to Seattle.

Then it happened.

I guess I'm selfish. I like me for me, and my name for what I've done with it, although that's limited right now, at best.

I may not be a major league catcher, but I'm young. I've got time to grow and mature, and to be whatever I want, or so they say.

But, if a former Mariner catcher, with movie star good looks and a chiseled physique wasn't enough, there's a line of clothing, coincidentally enough, named Ben Davis, too.

And it's not the type of clothing you'd find me wearing.

Is it the Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren type of clothing people associate with major clothing labels?

Nope.

It's more of a work-type clothing. You know the kind; the kind people have taken and associated with gangs.

I'm sure there are lots of people who wear the clothing who aren't associated with a gang, but a few people usually spoil it for everyone else.

In fact, when I was in high school someone told me there was a gang in Leavenworth named Ben Davis.

I wouldn't have minded so much if the gang had been named after me.

But of course, it wasn't, and of course, I didn't think it was.

Great, I thought to myself, sarcastically.

One year someone even gave me a Ben Davis t-shirt for my birthday.

It's still sitting in a drawer at home with the tags on it. I may put it on, if I'm in Leavenworth and feel like joining a gang.

Who knows? They might make me their leader.

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