Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All-Star Dunn enjoying baseball again

US Presswire photo
Former Nationals slugger Adam Dunn earned his first All-Star nod in 10 years.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For all his accomplishments in the big leagues -- all the towering home runs and all the walks -- Adam Dunn's resume over the last decade had two disturbing entries: zero All-Star Games, zero postseason appearances.

And after suffering through the worst season of his life in 2011, there was legitimate reason to wonder whether the former Nationals slugger would ever get back to the Midsummer Classic, or whether he'd ever get to experience the postseason with a White Sox franchise that seemed to be falling apart.

Well, Dunn managed to cross that first item off his list, earning a spot on the AL's All-Star roster 10 years after he made his one and only appearance in the game with the Reds. And with the White Sox currently holding a three-game lead in the AL Central, he might just get to cross off that second item as well in a couple of months.

"Obviously I feel a little better this year than I did last year," he said. "The good news is, last year is still over, and this year we've still got a whole half to go."

As consistent an offensive player as there was in baseball -- he averaged 40 homers, 101 RBI and 107 walks from 2004-10 -- Dunn wound up in Chicago last season after the Nationals decided not to match the White Sox's four-year, $56 million contract offer. The move was criticized in Washington at the time, though that criticism dwindled after the Nationals signed Jayson Werth to an eight-year, $126 million deal and especially after Dunn slogged his way through a disastrous debut season in the AL.

In 122 games last year, the DH/first baseman hit a paltry .159 with 11 homers, 42 RBI and 177 strikeouts. The crowds at U.S. Cellular Field routinely showered him with boos when he stepped to the plate.

"I don't blame them," he said. "I would've booed me, too. Seriously."

Few knew what to expect out of Dunn (or the White Sox, who went 79-83) this season, but each has enjoyed a renaissance. Dunn already has 25 homers and 64 RBI in 84 games, though his .208 batting average barely sits above the Mendoza Line. And, of course, he leads the league both in walks (68) and strikeouts (134).

Those power numbers were enough to earn Dunn a ticket to Kansas City for tonight's All-Star Game, where he'll look across the field and find three guys wearing the uniform of the first-place Nationals.

Will that be a bittersweet moment for Dunn, who lost 196 in two seasons in Washington but always insisted he wanted to be part of the franchise's eventual turnaround?

"No," he said. "I really enjoyed my time there. I really enjoyed the people. There's no hard feelings. Some of my good buddies still play on the team. I love Mike [Rizzo]. I love the Lerners. Everybody's great over there, and I wish them nothing but the best. And you saw it coming. You just didn't know how early it was going to be. I'm happy for them."

19 comments:

NatsJack in Florida said...

Truly a fun guy. Glad to see he's being productive and I'm really glad he's in that 10 man Sunday softball league where he can fill a role.

MicheleS said...

I am happy for the Big Donkey. He was fun to have around here and glad he landed on his feet with the White Sox (and has Ventura instead of Ozzie).

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, Dunner.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

If only he had soft hands at 1st base. I really like the guy. I wasn't happy with his leaving but now in hindsight we can all say it's for the best.

Doc said...

Nice article Mark, on a good guy.

I wanted the Nats to resign AD, like a lot of fans, and was disappoited that he went to the ChiSox.

Of course, I'll have to do some WAR checking, but I'm guessing that ALR more than makes up for AD, particularly in the field. Even without the towering HRs, LaRoche is obviously the better all-around hitter.

JaneB said...

I am so happy that he is having a good year. I'll always have a huge soft spot in my heart for him. I know that, in the end, Mike Rizzo knew more than I did, in terms of letting him go and bringing in ALR. But I'm glad for the years we had him, and thrilled he is an AllStar. I raise my mug of Diet Coke in toast to Adam Dunn! Thank you for catching up with him, Mark.

TimDz said...

Although I am glad that the Nats didn't invest the kind of money that the Chisox did, I am happy for Dunn and hopes he continues his success with Chicago...unless of course we play them in a WS or during Interleage play...

(lets see if this post stays...my last two were posted and eaten by the internet trolls I suppose...).

TimDz said...

Although I am glad that the Nats didn't invest the kind of money that the Chisox did, I am happy for Dunn and hopes he continues his success with Chicago...unless of course we play them in a WS or during Interleage play...

(lets see if this post stays...my last two were posted and eaten by the internet trolls I suppose...).

JT said...

While I was always a supporter of the Big Donkey, in hindsignt, it was the best thing that happened for the supporting infielders sake. With Adam at first, the throwing errors he has saved has lifted the confidence of the left side of the infield with their throws. I'm happy Adam has found his swing again in Chicago with the Sox. DH is the perfect spot for him.

NatsLady said...

JT, not only the infielders, but the pitchers (cf., JZ) who don't feel they have to strike everyone out. Yes, it's cool to watch a string of K's, but it's even cooler to see the starter go past 6 innings.

Another pitcher down. Ghost, even if Gio "regresses" a little, just STAY HEALTHY! That is going to be the key to the second half, that the pitchers can stay upright!

new-york-mets-pitcher-dillon-gee-hospitalized

http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/8147011/new-york-mets-pitcher-dillon-gee-hospitalized

alexva said...

for my Southside friends and AD I am very happy, for me and my fellow Nats fans I am equally happy.

JamesFan said...

Took my 6 year old grand daughter to a Nats game Dunn's last year here. He hit three bombs that night. If the subject of baseball comes up around her now, she always asks what Adam Dunn is doing. To her, baseball is Adam Dunn.

SonnyG10 said...

Glad things going well for AD. Also glad he's not a Nat.

NatsLady said...

I will be glad to see Adam Dunn when we meet in the WS. Being from the South Side, that would be great. Gotta root for the Nats, though, and better for Dunn to be there than here.

#4 said...

I liked watching Dunn hit while he was here. My enduring memory of him though was in the last World Baseball Classic in 2009. In the semi-final game between the Japan and the US, the Japanese purposefully hit balls to RF to take advantage of Dunn's lack of range. They got 10 hits and beat the US 9-4. The exasperated look on Roy Oswalt's face when a Japanese inside-outed yet another fastball on the inner half and flared a ball at Dunn that he couldn't get to was priceless.

He is definitely an AL player.

Tcostant said...

I was at the prior World Baseball Classic series in San Deigo and Japan was doing that to Cuba, Mexico and South Korea too. They know how to put them where tha ain't.

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

Hey, Mark, or whoever did so, thanks for asking Bud about MASN (per your tweeter feed thingy at top of this page).

oldguyjim said...

Hey NatsLady - I am also a transplanted Chicagoan and past Sox fan. The Senators, O's and now Nats have been my passion for many years now. I do remember the wonderful year of the '59 Sox and Nellie, who was my hero as a High School BB player. Too bad they ran into a better pitching Dodger team (with Larry Sherry)in the WS. I do wish AD the best with the Sox. I told some of my old Sox friends that AD would be a real asset to the team and then he had such an awful year. These guys now know he can hit and just needs to get his BA up to around .250 or so. It would be absolutely perfect if our Nats played the Sox in the WS real soon.

That was then this is now... Go Nats. I can't wait to see Davy and the guys in the 2nd half and head for the playoffs. See you at Nats Park.

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