Mike Davis’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”

The 3 essential Mike Davis books that explain L.A. Dodgers baseball

The first thing that struck me the first time I read Mike Davis’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” was his command of the complicated technical jargon of baseball statistics. A self-described “nerd” with a PhD from Caltech, he’s never been a big fan of most stats, and doesn’t particularly like “touches” either. As he sees it, that kind of statistical geekery can lead to a lot of wasted time and energy. To Davis, it’s the kind of stuff that the “smart guys” who run the baseball and basketball programs at colleges use to find the hidden talents among their undergrads.

I was interested in learning from him, and quickly got a new appreciation for how a simple, direct communication style could make someone better at his job.

Davis’s writing style is different from most baseball writers, because he doesn’t shy away from being brutally honest.

For example, Davis wrote a profile of Josh Beckett when Beckett was drafted by the Braves in 2007. The Braves had gone to the World Series and won the championship in 2003 and 2004, and they were very much in need of an everyday starting pitcher to carry them through that championship run.

Davis had read a lot about Beckett in his research for the piece, but he was still shocked that he was drafted by the Braves at all.

“You get called in for interviews where everybody is talking about Beckett and the Braves’ big plans, and I walk in and they say ‘Hey, Mike, we like you, but we want to know if you can hit.’

“I’m like: ‘Hey, I don’t have any of those. How am I supposed to know what to say?’

“I had to learn, in the span of five hours, that Josh Beckett has had two 100-strikeout seasons, he had a.500 year in 2005, a.400 year in 2006. To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I was also just thinking, ‘Is he the Mark Prior of pitching?’ No, he’s not.”


Leave a Comment