Sunday, July 22, 2001

Five Questions with Adam Dunn

        Just before phenom slugger Adam Dunn, 21 — all 6 feet, 6 inches, 250 pounds of him — got called up to the Reds last Friday, he spent some time with Enquirer reporter John Erardi in Fort Mill, S.C. (where the Triple-A Louisville RiverBats were playing the Charlotte Knights) talking about his life away from baseball.

        Q. What were Friday nights like in Texas playing high school football? (At New Caney High School, quarterback Dunn threw for almost 5,000 yards and 44 touchdowns. He went to the University of Texas on a football scholarship before choosing baseball full time in 1999.)

        A. It was unbelievable. We'd get 16,000 fans a night, and we played in front of 38,000 one night in the AstroDome as the third game of a tripleheader in the third round of the playoffs my senior year. But probably the most fun game I ever played was my junior year against Jasper — they were No. 4 in the state, we were No. 6. They were No. 1 in the area in defense; we were No. 1 in offense. We put it on them. We had a running back rush for 234 yards. We (si) crushed (ei) them. Homecoming game. Close to 20,000 people.

        Q. What other sports did you play in high school?

        A. Basketball, baseball, track — I ran the sprint relay, the 200 and threw the shot. Because of baseball, I only did the district tournament (in track), and if I made it, I'd do the regional. I threw shot my sophomore year in the regionals. When a guy got hurt on our sprint relay team, they needed a guy and asked me if I'd do it and I said, "Heck, yeah!” We got third. We'd have won if our guy didn't get hurt...Track meets are the best. Everybody's goin' everywhere. Everything goin' on at the same time. They're just a lot of fun.

        Q. You like to hunt and fish. What's your greatest hunter-gatherer moment?

        A. I caught a couple of 10-pound bass. I don't think anything beats tying into a big one, knowing you got a good one and trying not to lose it. Lake Fork, about an hour-and-a-half north of Dallas, are where the big daddies are. But the biggest one I caught was at Cypress Lake. It was only my third cast of the morning, sun's barely up, you can't really see, using a buzzbait, topwater. You hear it, you feel it, you set the hook, but you don't know if you've got him or not. Lily pads, stumps, overhanging trees, you don't wanna lose him. You know if he gets too low, he's going to break off. When I finally got him in the boat, and later we weighed him, I couldn't believe it: 10.5. (si) Huge. (ei) ... Everything I like to hunt and fish for is in Texas, but I'd like to go to Brazil sometime and do some peacock bass fishin'. They get big — 20-something pounds, green and good-lookin'. I've seen it on TV and they (the fish) look like they get after it a little bit.

        Q. Music, food, kickin' back?

        A. Country music, no one particular artist. Barbecue, seafood, love Mexican food. Any kind of Mexican. Back home there's a little place I go that's great — the chicken fajitas nachos are my favorite. I can't wait to go home and get those. Kickin' back? I'm pretty lazy. Play some PlayStation and that's about it.

        Q. Brothers and sisters?

        A. One older brother, one younger. Younger one's a junior in high school, plays baseball and football, a linebacker. Older one's a police officer in Houston. He's on a special narcotics team. There's only about 12 of those guys in Houston. All they do is bust people. I've been ridin' with him a few times — now that's fun. That's not something that would get old. My older brother's only 5-11, my younger brother's 6-2. My older brother feels like he got the raw end of the deal (physically). But if I weren't doing this (playing baseball) or playing football, I think I'd like doing what my (older) brother's doing. Every single day's something new...It's not easy, and neither is playing baseball. I like the mental side of baseball. It isn't like football, where you're having a good game (on offense) because somebody's running a defense that you're picking apart. They're not going to change the defense; they can't. In baseball, they can bring in a different pitcher, and that's usually a real big change. I'll never get bored by this game. It changes from pitch to pitch.


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