There’s nowhere to hide in baseball. Your batting average is displayed in three-foot-high digits on the scoreboard before each at-bat. The scouts behind home plate hone in on your every weakness. Each flailing swing is just a few clicks of the Internet away for anyone to see.
When you’re Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox, and you’re hitting .165 with 142 strikeouts on August 9, and you’re in the first year of a four-year $56 million contract, you are past the point of being unable to hide. You are a full-blown spectacle, with folks openly questioning whether your season and your contract are the worst in history.
And the fact you are such a likeable guy — the “Big Donkey” — is probably only making it worse. You answer every question from every reporter who visits your locker, and you answer them honestly. You take every well-intended phone call from every well-meaning friend offering a few encouraging words and maybe a hitting tip.
“I got a phone call from Chipper [Jones] just a little while ago,” Dunn said Monday in the visitors’ clubhouse at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the White Sox were preparing to open a series against the Baltimore Orioles. “Everybody’s trying to help, help, help. You appreciate that kind of stuff. But what are you supposed to do? If you’ve got the answer, bring it. Because I don’t.”