Remember when the Houston Astros moved to the American League and it ruined everything forever? While the Astros’ move to the AL West is mostly painful for the Astros themselves, there are many more dominoes of suffering yet to fall in this chain. No one will suffer more than you, the fan of baseball, now subjected to interleague play on every day of the year.
With 15 teams in each league, one from each league must be facing off at all times. The Reds and Angels started the season and the Royals and Phillies battled in Philadelphia this past weekend.
Games played in National League stadiums are subject to NL rules, meaning no DH. Interleague is what it is, the merits of which will not be debated here and now, but let’s consider this a bonus gift from the interleague gods. Because it gives rise to glorious questions like “will Adam Dunn play left field this week?”
That, friends, is the greatest advertisement for interleague baseball I could ever hope to conceive. But, given the construction of their lineup, it is an option the White Sox are seriously considering for their series with the Nationals in D.C. this week.
“It’s possible, we’ll just see how it goes,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’ll probably have one of (the games) at some point.”
“If I do, I’ll be ready,” said Dunn, who played 62 games in left for the Nationals in 2009. “I haven’t taken a ton (of fly balls), but I played there in spring and felt good out there. It didn’t feel too weird.”
Weeeeeee. Adam Dunn, playing left field! In 2013! Be still my heart.
Amazingly, Dunn made five starts in the outfield for the ChiSox last season in addition to making two starts in right in 2011. Make sweeping conclusions based on microscopic fielding samples at your peril but…but that’s it. Dunn was bad as an outfielder for his entire career. Full stop. He last played the outfield at anything close to a full time basis in 2009, when he was bad. As players get older, they tend not to become better fielders.
The thing with sample sizes works both ways – you can certainly hide Dunn in the outfield for two or three games and escape unscathed. It’s only two games, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s when a team decides that playing somebody like Dunn in the outfield full time isn’t such a big deal that the decision becomes reckless and or foolish. It isn’t that defense no longer matters, it’s just the impact of playing a bad defender is lessened in a one-off situation.
More than anything, it isn’t that Adam Dunn is inept, he’s just big and slow. Probably too slow to get himself into any real trouble. Worse yet, in this the golden age of giffery, there isn’t even a great chance for some yakety sax action with Dunn in the field. Hard to take a bad route on a ball when you don’t really get any jump whatsoever. Just sort of lope over to where the ball lands, pick it up, and throw it back to the infield.
Not as much fun as an eager/incompetent outfielder twisting himself into knots just trying to make a difference.