Adam Dunn is an Optimist
"There can't be a more important city in the world," Adam Dunn just said to a small gathering of folks, including Tom Boswell, the AP's Howard Fendrich and the creatively named D.C. Sports Box. "I can't imagine how this place is gonna be when we put up a winner. It's gonna be incredible. It's gonna be incredible. I can't wait. I cannot wait. It's gonna turn around, and it's gonna be incredible. It's gonna be one of the greatest places ever."
Stan Kasten stood over his shoulder at this point, grinning like crazy. Not too many people have said NatsTown will be one of the greatest places ever. It had Kasten in a good mood. Earlier in the afternoon, there had been plenty of questions about life in the right-field seats this spring.
"I didn't get that question about the right-field bleachers last year when Willie Harris was our top left-handed slugger," Kasten noted.
That was a good quote, though not as good as Kasten's greeting to me: "What up, dawg." In fact, that might be the best quote I've ever heard from a baseball executive. As for the most promising quote of the afternoon, I'll give the award to this one, when Boz asked Dunn about the future of the Nats' young pitchers.
"That's exactly what I was saying," Dunn said. "That's the reason why I'm so excited. I had no idea how young this team was, I had no idea how many injuries they had last year. I mean, that's amazing. It really is. The more that you get to know me, you'll know, I don't BS. Sometimes I get myself in trouble because I tell the truth. Anyway, that's bad."
"That's good!" I pointed out.
"That's good for you guys," Dunn admitted. "That's good for you guys, but it's bad for me."
"We're going to keep you away from this guy until the All-Star break," a Nats PR exec said, pointing in my direction.
C'mon, dawg. Anyhow, while contemplating the meaning of a no-BS straight-talker assuring us that this city will be one of the greatest places ever when the Nats start winning, I present some more Dunn quotes.
On his frequent conversations with Bowden: "It was like I was a National the entire time I wasn't."
On the pressure of his contract: "Man, this is baseball, bro. This is a fun game. I can give you a million different things with pressure. Baseball is a game, baseball is fun....I'm here to take pressure OFF people."
On his pay cut: "This economy thing's real. It's not something that's made up. It's real."
On his number: "I like 32. I had this in Arizona. I told Jay Bruce it's a tribute to him, because he's 32. I think this is definitely a [good] number. I don't know. I don't know what's gonna happen with the number yet. I was actually 10 growing up and then Jim decided to put me in 44....I like it though. 44's a good number. But again, a number's a number, I'm not one of those superstitious guys that has to have this number or that number."
On his decision: "There were a lot of American League teams I didn't want to go to, because I definitely wanted to play the field....I can sit here with a straight face and tell you I really wanted to be here."
On Kearns and Zim: "You feel for those guys because they want to win so bad....I'm gonna be out there to help them win, because I know they want to win as much as I do. You haven't seen the best of them."
On his boyhood idol: "I actually was a big Houston Astros fan, and my favorite player--everybody laughs when I say it--but it was Alan Ashby, the catcher. No one ever remembers him for some reason. But Larry Walker was a guy that I kind of always thought was very underrated, never got the kudos that he deserved. He was just a great all around player, and growing up that was someone who I idolized. He could do it all."
On gridiron contact: "For some reason, that's basically the only thing about football that I miss, getting to take your frustration out on something, you know? Because I can't sit there and throw my helmet or beat up the water cooler. I can't. That was instilled by my quarterback coach in 7th grade. I remember I threw my helmet one time and he made me wear it, grabbed my facemask the entire game, drug me down the sideline the entire game. I can't do that. My thing is I'm really hard on myself, which is a bad thing, because I can't scream, I can't yell, that doesn't work for me. So taking it out on you guys don't help. It didn't help. It's no fun. I don't like to do that, I like to have a good relationship with you guys."
On what he knows about D.C.: "I know the Capitol's here. I look very forward to [moving here] because I love knowledge, I love knowing things. I saw that Newseum? I cannot WAIT to go there. I can't wait. I'm gonna be everywhere. Every day. Ok, not every day, but a lot. I cannot wait. I'm not really into art, but I'll go. I can't wait."
On D.C. being a basketball town in the spring: "Is it? We'll change it."
On the season to come: "It's gonna be fun. I promise y'all. I promise."
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