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Adam Dunn Used to Play Shortstop

(By Richard A. Lipski - TWP)

As I type this, the Nats trail, 6-0. I don't appear to have brought much good luck to this place. I'll go back to staying away soon.

Two pieces of conventional wisdom: every Major League Baseball player once played shortstop, and Adam Dunn's strength is hitting rather than fielding. So, combine those and what do you get?

"Everybody in this damn room played shortstop, and everybody in this room pitched," Dunn said.

So, was he good?

"Probably not," he said. "I'm not very good defensively. Probably wasn't good then, either."

(In fact, Dunn said, when he was four, he was the all-star catcher in his tee ball league. "I don't remember it, it's just what my dad always tells me," he said. "You know what an all-star catcher does in tee ball? Exactly. Nothing. When a guy swings and misses and knocks the ball off, you pick it up and put it back on the tee for him."

It's possible he was joking about this. "I was 4, man," he said, when I looked at him skeptically. "The rest of the kids were 5.)

(Apropos of nothing, at least three Nats, including Josh Bard and Ronnie Belliard, were walking around the clubhouse wearing Adam Dunn giveaway t-shirts today.)

Anyhow, I didn't find a single member of the team who hadn't been a shortstop growing up.

"I was kind of in-between a Barry Larkin and an Ozzie Smith of Little League," Jason Bergmann said. "They realized my potential wasn't as a hitter, so all that talent went right out the window."

"Unbelievable," Collin Balester said of his shortstop skills. "Guzman-type. I was pretty good, not gonna lie."

"All-state shortstop buddy," Craig Stammen said. "I was way better at shortstop than I was at pitching in high school."

"Absolutely," Josh Willingham said. "The best athlete played shortstop. Did you play short?"

I said I did, which was actually true.

"Then your team had to suck," Dunn pointed out, which was also true. Anyhow, Willingham never played a position besides shortstop before he got to pro ball. So what happened?

"People's bodies change over time," he said. "I wasn't as filled out. I was skinnier."

And if he played shortstop today?

"I would catch the ball within a 10-foot radius and throw it to first," he said.

I asked the same question to Dunn.

"I don't know, I probably wouldn't be good enough out there," he said.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 6, 2009; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Portis to His Critics: 'Check My Paperwork'


Maybe Stammen should have played shortstop today.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | August 6, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Cheer up Steinz, by the time I got this in Google Reader, it was 8-7 Florida.,

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | August 6, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Dan baby'

The luck is still with you. NATS 12 Fish 8!! 5 in a row. Definitely a Marlin's fail.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | August 6, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to believe that the Nats can Catch the O's!! .. by season's end. That would be a championship of sorts.

Posted by: tslats | August 6, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Nats won. lol

Posted by: wis193 | August 10, 2009 4:02 AM | Report abuse

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