Adam Dunn won’t worry about his Ks, and neither should you

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Adam Dunn strikes out a lot. Everyone knows that.

The Chicago White Sox designated hitter has whiffed more than 1,600 times in 10 seasons, including 199 times in 2010. And he’s continuing to strike out quite a bit this spring – 22 times in just 53 at-bats.

So is there reason for White Sox fans to be concerned?

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen certainly isn’t worried, telling Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that he’s more focused on keeping players healthy than how they perform at this stage of spring training.

That makes perfect sense. Strikeouts are just part of the Adam Dunn package. It’s a package that also includes a ton of home runs (282 since 2004), a ton of walks (750 in the same period) and a career OPS of .902. In the case of Dunn, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

For his part, Dunn is fully aware of his critics.

“There’s nobody that hates it more than me I promise you,” he told me during a recent interview at the White Sox’s spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. “It’s not something you get used to. It’s so hard to explain because I do like to take pitches, which gets me walks but also gets me in bad counts. It’s hard to hit with two strikes in this league. If I didn’t take as many pitches I probably wouldn’t strike out as much, but then I probably wouldn’t get on base as much. I can’t find a happy medium, it seems like.”

Dunn, who will be a primary DH this season for the first time in his career, pointed out that not all strikeouts should be viewed the same way, and that sometimes, depending on the situation, he will go for broke at the plate.

“What’s the difference with two outs, nobody on, if you fly out to the wall or strike out? It’s still an out, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Now, if you have a man in scoring position, especially a man on third with less than two outs, and you strike out, that’s terrible. That’s a bad strikeout.”

Dunn, who reminds one a bit of Will Ferrell, both for his size and hair, plus his wise-cracking demeanor, then promised to take our little talk to heart in the upcoming season.

“I’ve gone through every scenario,” he deadpanned. “This year I’m going to focus on swinging the bat more, and it all falls back to this interview. Whatever.”

With Dunn, what you see is what you get. White Sox fans should enjoy it.

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Mike Piazza presided over the destruction of a 100-year-old soccer team

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Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame in January of 2016 and inducted in July of 2016. In between those dates he purchased an Italian soccer team, A.C. Reggiana 1919, a member of Italy’s third division. In June of that year he was greeted as a savior in Reggio Emilia, the small Italian town in which the team played. He was the big American sports star who was going to restore the venerable club to its past and rightful place of glory.

There were suggestions by last March that things weren’t going well, but know we know that in less than two years it all fell apart. Piazza and his wife Alicia presided over a hot mess of a business, losing millions of dollars and, this past June, they abruptly liquidated the club. It is now defunct — one year short of its centennial — and a semipro team is playing in its place, trying to acquire the naming rights from Piazza as it wends its way though bankruptcy.

Today at The Athletic, Robert Andrew Powell has a fascinating — no, make that outrageously entertaining — story of how that all went down from the perspective of the Piazzas. Mostly Alicia Piazza who ran the team in its second year when Mike realized he was in over his head. She is . . . something. Her quotes alone are worth the price of admission. For example:

Alicia, who refers to Mike’s ownership dream as “his midlife crisis,” offered up a counter argument.

“Who the f**k ever heard of Reggio Emilia?” she asked. “It’s not Venice. It’s not Rome. My girlfriend said, and you can quote this—and this really depressed me. She said, ‘Honey, you bought into Pittsburgh.’ Like, it wasn’t the New York Yankees. It wasn’t the Mets. It wasn’t the Dodgers. You bought Pittsburgh!”

In their Miami living room, Mike tried to interject but she stopped him.

“And imagine what that feels like, after spending 10 million euros. You bought Pittsburgh!”

At this point it may be worth remembering that Piazza is from Pennsylvania. Eastern Pennsylvania to be sure, but still.

Shockingly, it didn’t end all that well for the Piazzas in Reggio Emilia:

One week later, the Piazzas returned to Reggio Emilia, and were spotted at the team offices. More than a hundred ultras marched into the office parking lot, chanting and demanding answers. Carabinieri—national police aligned with the military—showed up for the Piazzas’ safety. The police advised the Americans to avoid the front door of the complex and exit through the back. Mike assured them it wouldn’t be necessary—he had always enjoyed a good relationship with the fans.

The carabinieri informed him that the relationship had changed. The Piazzas slipped out the back door, under police escort.

The must-read of the week. Maybe the month. Hell, maybe the year. The only thing I can imagine topping it is if someone can tell this story from the perspective of the people in Reggio Emilia. I’m guessing their take is a bit different than the Piazzas.