In June of 2008, J.P. Ricciardi, the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time, was on a Toronto sports radio station answering questions from fans, when multiple callers asked why the team didn’t seem interested in acquiring Adam Dunn.
Exasperated to a degree by his failings to compete in the same division with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the current special assistant to New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson, lashed out against the fans, using Dunn as something of a proxy punching bag.
He’s a lifetime .230-.240 hitter that strikes out a ton and hits home runs. Did you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much? Did you know the guy doesn’t have a passion to play the game that much? I don’t think you’d be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here. We’ve done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn and there’s a reason why we don’t want Adam Dunn.
The rant became a punch line in Toronto during the remaining years of Ricciardi’s tenure in charge of the Blue Jays. Although, it didn’t seem quite as funny to Dunn at the time.
I bring all this up because of a text message exchange I read about between Chipper Jones and Dunn. The Atlanta Braves third baseman was teasing the Chicago White Sox first baseman for his current situation atop the leader board in strikeouts and near the top in home runs.
Jones texted him:
Dunner, you’re going to be the first major leaguer to strike out 300 times and hit 100 homers.
Showing a healthy knowledge of the game that he apparently dislikes, Dunn responded:
Maybe you can come here to Chicago and give me the signs from second base.
Dunn, of course, was referring to the recent spat Jones had with yet another veteran player, Jamie Moyer, last weekend when the ancient pitcher accused the long-time member of the Braves of stealing signs from second base.
To this point in the season, Dunn represents one of the better bounce back story lines. After struggles last year that never saw the big first baseman get back to what we believed his true talent level to be, Dunn has found his power stroke again, almost tripling his isolated power numbers from last season. In all of 2011, Dunn hit eleven home runs. After the first month and a bit of the 2012 season, he’s already hit ten home runs.
Perhaps he just found a passion to play the game once again.