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Reading Room: Adam Dunn and the Curse of The Grand Canyon

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Adam Dunn leaves 'em loaded in the eighth.
Adam Dunn leaves 'em loaded in the eighth.

On May 11, Adam Dunn went 4-for-5 with a homer, double and a walk that started a game-tying rally. Hawk Harrelson was so inspired by the performance that he came up with a nickname that involved more than tacking on "-meister" to the end of their name: The Grand Canyon.

At that point, Dunn had finally started producing like the Sox imagined he would. He had a five-game hitting streak (10-for-21 with three walks) that featured six extra-base hits. He'd finally hiked his average over the Mendoza Line, and his OPS into the .700s.

Then Harrelson had to go and name him after a large crater that formed due to erosion over a long period of time.

Since then, Dunn has hit .125/.268/.200 with 40 strikeouts over 97 plate appearances, and at this point, there's no way to assume that he has scraped bottom. The last two games have introduced new ways to completely mess with him.

On Sunday, Dunn missed a homer by a matter of feet down the right-field line for strike two. On the next pitch, Jim Reynolds called strike three on a pitch at the shins. That was one of three strikeouts on the day. It got worse on Monday, because his game unraveled over the last three innings.

  • Bottom of the seventh: Dunn grounds into a 4-6-3 double play.
  • Top of the eighth: Dunn lets a John Danks pickoff throw glance off his mtt. The error leads to a run.
  • Bottom of the eighth: Dunn ends the inning with a bases-loaded strikeout, and right-handed David Pauley pitched around Brent Lillibridge to get to him.
  • Top of the ninth: Dunn bobbles a two-out grounder, but recovers in time to record the final out. Harrelson had to extend his "This ballgame is ovah!" to cover for Dunn until he gathered himself and touched first.

If Harrelson was perturbed by Dunn's inconsideration, he has nobody to blame but himself. Since nothing else has seemed to work, maybe the solution is for Harrelson to publicly renounce "The Grand Canyon" and join "The Big Donkey" train, or name him after something known for its ability to succeed in the face of steep odds to improve the lives of millions of people.

I'm not suggesting that Harrelson change Dunn's nickname to "The Berlin Airlift," but maybe I am.

He's still putting on a good public face while his ears hear the very public boos:

"It’s hard for people to watch, you know?" he said. "I get phone calls every day. I’m getting phone calls from people I haven’t heard from in years. It’s hard to watch, but even harder than that is being in the batter’s box doing it. The good thing is that we’ve got four months left.

"It’s nice to know people care, but it’s not like I’m on suicide watch."

From one ongoing problem to another, it's time for a Jake Peavy update.

** Guillen says Peavy courageous not reckless -  ESPN Chicago

Ozzie Guillen says he saw nothing wrong with Jake Peavy's attempt to pitch through pain, so expect more of the same the next few times Peavy returns from the DL.

** Ventura heads back home, joins White Sox -

Brett Ballantini has reaction from Robin Ventura and others as the beloved third baseman returns to the White Sox organization as a special adviser to Buddy Bell.

** Ballantini: A look back at the South Side Hit Men

Ballantini also takes a look back at how the 1977 White Sox came together, and why they still resonate.

** 2011: The year that evil became stupid?

By "evil," Chris Jaffe is referring to the various surcharges placed on ticket orders, noting that the teams at the top are the teams struggling with attendance. The White Sox are among them, but making matters worse, they also rank poorly when it comes to the price of parking and the cheapest seats.

On a personal note, the most striking result for me was again the White Sox. Yeah, it’s easy to avoid their parking fees thanks to the Red Line (or Green Line, which is just a little further down), but it’s amazing: The Sox score among the highest again.

They have trouble filling the stadium, and they respond by combining some of the most expensive cheap seats in MLB with higher-than-normal add-on costs and high parking costs. It seems to me they are short-sighted in their approach and are blowing a golden opportunity to siphon off fans from the Cubs.