CHICAGO -- Adam Dunn knows that complaining about an unforgiving ballpark won’t get him anywhere, but after two years and two months on the South Side, he sees no advantage to hitting at U.S. Cellular Field.
That cozy little bandbox that everybody always talked about is a thing of the past, as far as he’s concerned. He won’t put it among the best hitting ballparks any time soon.
“I’d like to throw the challenge flag on that statement,” Dunn said Friday. “I played in two pretty god hitting parks in Arizona and Cincinnati. Obviously I heard the ball really carries here and it’s a good hitter’s park and all that good stuff.”
Dunn smirked. He knows what everybody will say about a player that entered play Friday with a .158 batting average, and 74 strikeouts compared to 31 hits. He knows those rising strikeout totals will be mentioned and that in no way is a formerly home-run friendly ballpark to blame for his shocking lack of production since he has come over the American League to start the 2011 season.
That’s not what he’s talking about.
Dunn is not blaming the park for his struggles, he has just noticed that when there is a borderline chance for a home run, he has never felt he got the benefit of the doubt.
“I played in Cincinnati and had some home runs I didn’t feel I deserved,” Dunn said.
He has never felt that with the White Sox. He feels his home ballpark has taken far more home runs than it has given him on those borderline situations.
The most recent occurrence came in the 10th inning of Thursday’s game with the White Sox down a run and a runner on base. Dunn lifted an 0-2 pitch deep to left, but the drive ran out of steam at the base of the wall and instead of a walk-off shot, the White Sox walked off losers of nine of their last 10.
“Literally, I’m not trying to make excuses or anything but you can ask (Paul Konerko), he’s been here the longest,” Dunn said. “He was saying that he didn’t understand it either. Obviously he’s seen this park at its best and I haven’t.”
Asked about it, Konerko didn’t necessarily say the ballpark has a new identity, it’s just taking longer this year for it to be generous.
“It’s just stayed colder and cooler a little bit longer,” Konerko said. “We’ll have to see how the rest of the season shapes up. It could be a hot September where there are some balls that used to get knocked down in September that will go out, so we have to see how it all pans out. I didn’t sense a trend in the last couple of years, but this year for sure you can tell, with both teams, it’s simply cooler here and the wind blows in from left and across the field.”
Like Dunn, Konerko was quick to point out that the team’s struggles on offense are much bigger than prevailing breezes off the lake.
“There are a lot of things you can argue with, or you can try to work on or this and that, but fighting Mother Nature is not going to work,” Konerko said. “I think we should just leave that one alone.”