Tuesday, May 15, 2012
On Monday, White Sox designated hitter/first baseman/leftfielder Adam Dunn spent time talking to Sox season ticket holders on a special conference call. Here are a few of his select comments from the conversation:
Q: Later on this week, you are scheduled to play the field. Are you excited about that?
A: I’m hearing that I’ll be back in the outfield a little bit. That will be exciting. It will be fun, a little change up for me.
Q: You’ve played the field before. You’ve played first base for us, sharing time with Paul Konerko. The newspaper today says you’ll be playing in the outfield. Is this true?
A: Yes. It’s something I’ve done my whole career, so it’s not too foreign for me. Anytime I can get on the field, especially during interleague when there is no DH, I would much rather play in the outfield or anywhere I can play instead of sitting on the bench.
Q: It’s great to have you back to your old self. What made the difference?
A: It’s really nothing mechanical. I think this time last year I really wasn’t as healthy as I would have liked. That resulted in some bad habits I wasn’t able to get out of. This year I have been 100 percent healthy and feel like my normal self.
Q: Do you think that you playing in the field, rather than DH, has helped you this year?
A: This year I’ve gotten a bit more acclimated. That was a much bigger adjustment than I had anticipated. If you know my personality, you know I’m not the type to just sit there and twiddle my thumbs. I’ve got to be doing something all the time. Robin’s done a really good job with letting me get out there usually about once a series. I don’t know if it’s helped, but I certainly like being out there and having fun.
Q: How has the coaching staff been? Have they been helpful to you this season?
A: Yes. I feel like I got to hand pick the coaching staff. I’m serious. It’s everyone. It’s as good of a coaching staff as you could put together. They relate to the players so well. Everyone has the utmost respect for all the coaches. That’s hard to find.
Q: How does the support from the fans impact your performance at the plate?
A: It’s huge, especially at home. You’re used to getting booed. You’re used to getting talked about on the road. It adds to the pressure. Hitting is so hard, and when you add just a little pressure to an already high-anxiety at-bat, you start pressing. And once you start pressing, bad things happen. It definitely makes it easier to go up there more relaxed, more focused on getting on base and driving in runs than “I’ve got to get a hit, I’ve got to get a hit, I’ve got to get a hit.” It’s definitely been a lot better.
Q: Are there times in games where you take a different approach in hitting?
A: Absolutely. Let’s say there’s a guy on third base with two outs and all you have to do is hit a ground ball or a fly ball to get him in. That’s probably the one time that you’ll see me change my approach the most. Again, when there are two outs and nobody on, I’m trying to get us a run on the board. I’m always looking for that pitch. Is that the right way to go about it? I don’t know, but it sure is nice when you can get there and get an early lead on a two-strike homer.
Q: Are you able to help some of the younger teammates when they’re at the plate?
A: I’ll do anything to help these guys, but they for the most part are so talented. They’ve done this their whole lives. I think guys put so much pressure and so much emphasis on the wrong things about hitting that they just forget the basics. I know I did last year and I’ll never do that again. It’s basically “see ball, hit ball” and people put so much emphasis on mechanics and this and that. Next thing you know, they’re forgetting the main thing and that’s getting a good pitch and hitting it.
Q: How did you keep up your morale last year?
A: Baseball does not define me as a person. It’s a job. I enjoy doing it. As far as the morale, every day I thought, “This is the day. This is the day everything is going to change and get back to normal. This is the day I’m going to help the team win. I can’t take back what happened previously, but maybe I can do some things that will help us win today.” There’s no use in sitting around pouting about it because nobody cares. That’s something I was fortunate to learn at a very young age.
Q: Do you prepare yourself a little differently when you know you’re either on the field or DH?
A: I’ve taken the same routine each and every day regardless of whether I’m DH or playing the field. The only difference would be that obviously I’m in the cage hitting a little bit more during the game because I’m not out on the field playing. Other than that, I take the same pre-game approach. My day is pretty much consistent.
Q: How tough was the transition from being an everyday player to DH?
A: Again, it was a lot tougher than I had anticipated. It sounds really cool just to go out there and hit four or five times a game. What people don’t realize is how hard it is to stay in the flow of the game and stay loose for four or five at-bats. That’s why routine is really, really big for me, especially being DH.
Q: How are you enjoying the city of Chicago this year compared to last year?
A: Last year, I would come home, lock my door and shut my blinds and not enjoy my favorite city. I’ve said it from day one, this is my favorite city. This year I feel like I can take the family out to some restaurants that we like to go to and go out and see the city. We’ve been able to do that a lot more this year than last year. It’s such a great city. Last year, I feel like I deprived my family by not taking them out and enjoying it.
Q: Do you really get a chance to enjoy the city while you’re here in Chicago, or are you pretty much here just to play?
A: It’s a lot easier to see the things you like to see because we don’t have to be at the field until (later in the day). Like this morning, we have a little breakfast spot we like to get up and go eat at. It’s great. This is your home city. I’m here more than I am at my home city in Texas. I can’t think of a better place to call home for six to eight months.
Q: How does it feel to silence all your critics from last year with all your home runs this year?
A: That’s something I don’t even think about. Last year was last year. I can’t take it back. I know it wasn’t me. I know what I’m capable of doing if I’m healthy and I play every day. The number one goal is to go out and play in as many games as I can and just be me. At the end of the year, the numbers will be what they are and it will make everyone happy. We’ll go on to next year.
Q: What is your thought process as you approach an at-bat?
A: I’ll have a plan each and every at-bat, whether it looks like it or not. Depending on how I think they’re going to pitch me at that at-bat or the situation or this and that, I sell out. If that pitch isn’t there early in the count, I’ll take it. A lot of people ask, “How do you take that pitch?” I’m not able to swing at balls early in the count that I’m not sitting on or really thinking about, which leads to high walks because I get myself in good hitter’s counts and I don’t swing at bad pitches. It also gets me into bad counts, 0-1, 0-2, really quick. I don’t know. If you can help me out with that one, it would probably solve a big problem.
Q: Is there one thing you want to say to all our season ticket holders?
A: Absolutely. I want to thank all of you for the support. I promise you we will definitely turn it around. Personally, I would like to thank you for sticking with me. We’re going to have a few more good years here and hopefully bring another championship back here to Chicago. Thank you.