White Sox’ Adam Dunn: Worst. Year. Ever.
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Life is a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride filled with highs and lows and twists and turns – so, every once in a while it’s going to make you barf. And when the highs come along, it seems like everyone is there to celebrate with you. But when the lows come along, it can be a disturbingly lonely experience.
A few years ago I had one of those years where everything seemed to go wrong, and everywhere I turned, I seemed to get kicked in the face – and sometimes kicked in that sensitive region lower than the face but higher than the knees – I mean the balls.
After an absolutely satisfactory previous year, it looked like the good times would keep on rolling. But within a few months, I had two very profitable ventures fall through. My girlfriend dumped me – via a strongly worded email. My writing projects that were going full-steam ahead suddenly evaporated. One of my closest friends began practicing the Amish tradition of shunning with me. And to top it all off, there was that “mix-up” which led to me being “handcuffed” and “questioned.”
It was a rough year. And you, sitting there reading this, can probably think of a year you’ve had where seemingly nothing could go right and it seemed the world was out to get you. And that time might even seem pretty horrible to you now, years later. But, as bad as that one year was for me, and as excruciating as every day may have been in the year you’re thinking of, none of us has had it as bad as Adam Dunn.
Adam Dunn plays for the Chicago White Sox. It’s hard to imagine anyone who gets paid tens of millions of dollars to play professional baseball for a living could qualify for a worst year ever. But, what if that player was about to go down in history as one of the single greatest disappointments in the history of the sport? What if that player was having a season that would be remembered by generations as one of the epic stink burgers in all of sports? Okay, now your year doesn’t look so bad, right?
Last offseason, Adam came over from the Washington Nationals with a brand new contract of four years for $56 million. Just about all the experts loved this signing. I’ve always liked him. He’s a huge dude with rugged good looks. He has come close to making it onto my bromance list quite a few times.
He was going to be just what the White Sox needed to boost their offense. They needed a left-handed batter. He is left-handed. They needed a slugger. He averaged 40 home runs a year over his career. His batting average has never been very high, but this guy got on base with walks at a Hall-of-Fame pace. His defense has always been average, but the White Sox didn’t care – he was going to be their designated hitter. So, all he had to do was hit.
Well, that’s the problem. He hasn’t hit. At all. For the whole season. He’s been awful. He’s not hitting any home runs, he’s not getting any walks and he’s leading the league in strike outs – which is very cool if you are a pitcher – but it is very uncool if you are a batter.
And no one knows why this is happening to such a good player. Sometimes players slow down their production when they get a big contract, but this production is historically embarrassing. Maybe he’s injured and he isn’t saying anything. Maybe he met some girl who’s sucking the life out of him and he isn’t allowed to say anything. Maybe he hates living in Chicago. Maybe there’s some trouble in his family that’s distracting him. Maybe aliens abducted him and their tests left him unable to play – hey, don’t laugh, it could happen. It sort of happened to me once. Well, not really “happened,” so much as I dreamt it.
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