Adam Dunn: USA HR Hero (Mr. Personality?)
I hope that some Nats fans got to see Adam Dunn's two walks and two-run home run in the sixth inning which provided the eventual margin of victory in the U.S.'s 6-5 win over Canada in Toronto this afternoon in the WBC. Oh, he was the TV star, too. Lot of fun.
As the game went down to the final out, with the tying run on second base for Canada, TV kept cutting to reaction shots of Dunn in the dugout, cracking up his teammates as he took his own pulse __fingers to his neck__ because he was so excited by the game. He'd come out for defense (naturally) after his homer had given the U.S. a 6-3 lead.
"This was like a playoff game, even though I've never been in the playoffs...If the playoffs are better than this...," said Dunn, who had a perfect day at the plate, walking twice against Canada's Mike Johnson and scoring twice, including his homer over the leftcenterfield fence off Chris Begg on a pitch on the low-outside corner.
Asked about taking his own pulse as he watched the last pitches of the bottom of the ninth, Dunn said, grinning, "I get nervous...It doesn't get any better that that." He added that, when the U.S.A.team called the Nats earlier this week, "It was an easy decision. I knew I was going. I'm just excited to be here."
These quotes, by the way, were just written down hastily off TV. But for those who didn't see it, or tape it, I thought it would be better than nothing. The pitch Dunn hit out was a pitcher's pitch (maybe even a hair low-and-outside), but he still got it on the barrell and over the fence in the leftcenter power alley with room to spare.
A few days ago in Viera, Manny Acta said that the biggest surprise about Dunn since the Nationals signed him was "his personality. We didn't know he had one." A joke. But Dunn has gotten relatively little attention Cincinnati, which has been a grouchy baseball town in recent years and seldom seemed satisfied that whatever he did was enough. Since coming to the Nats, he's been very outgoing, especially since the club wants him to share some of the "face of the franchise" duties (and pressure) with Ryan Zimmerman.
Joel Hanrahan pitched the sixth inning for the U.S. and allowed a hit, a walk and one run on his own wild pitch.
Dunn has certainly had an odd career __278 home runs, far more than many famous sluggers at that age, yet it seemed that this may have been the most exciting moment of his baseball life. So far. He definitely enjoyed the theater with more than 42,000 in Toronto standing throughout multiple late-game rallies by Canada.
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