In the breakdown between being a legitimate baseball analyst and an emotion-driven fan, I probably still rank as 30/70.
So when Adam Dunn says things like
"I'm to a point now where I'm on a team that has a chance to win a World
Series and I'll do whatever they want me to do."
I get irrationally excited. I mean, come on! Someone just said "White Sox" and "World Series" and didn't follow it up "slashed prices on DVDs". Dunn's unbridled enthusiasm to be a part of the White Sox is certainly welcome, and with the investment being made, the goal of a World Series title is appropriate, but it needs to be taken with a couple of ottoman-sized grains of salt.
First, Dunn is literally at a press conference for his job, for a company that is about to pay him as much money in 4 years as he's made in his whole career. For $56 million, I'd say that Kenny Williams cured leukemia, and turned water into peanut butter...and I'd say it on record.
Second, this is already the best team Adam Dunn has ever played on, and that's not a compliment to the Sox. Just a team that seems to be loading up for a single-season run, and not rebuilding...or rebuilding on the cheap, has to have cultivated his competitive juices like never before.
Third, any team should be trying to win the world series, especially one as old at the White Sox, but really any team. They're not, but...they should be.
For the most part, there's no reason to think that Adam Dunn's contract-signing press conference is any more euphoric than the typical one.
So Dunn was driven to do something tangible. Both he and A.J. Pierzynski are back-loading their contracts, solely for the purpose of freeing up room in the 2011 budget to launch a more viable offer to Paul Konerko. Pierzynski is balancing his contract out to $2MM in 2011 and $6MM in 2012, while Dunn is going down to $12MM in 2011, before going to $14MM in 2012 and $15MM in each of his final two seasons.
Both Pierzynski and Dunn are still going to get their money, and there's certainly a question of how much sense it makes to pay players the most for what figures to certainly be their worst seasons, but this is pretty special.
For all the lip service players give about caring about winning, having their pay jerked around with is usually the line that they don't cross. Paul Konerko stands out as having taken a hometown discount to come back to the White Sox, but even that involved paying him $60 million.
Dunn and Pierzynski's coordinated effort to lower the Sox combined 2011 budget, and Dunn accepting $56MM total for his deal when initial reports put his starting price as a shade higher than that suggests that the absurd, juvenile notion that "this team just wants to win" might actually be true.
And why wouldn't it? There's more than enough old, declining players who haven't won anything on the roster to generate plenty of desperate motivation.
As a mostly emotion-driven fan, the 2011 World Series title or bust approach is definitely appealing (Consider my 13-game Ozzie-plan re-upped), even if I wish that the aging roster and financial committments didn't make the "bust" part ring so true.