Friday, April 8, 2011

MLB's New Coolest Player is a Dunn Deal

Being a professional athlete carries with it the automatic status of cool. It is akin to Rock Star in this way. While you can certainly be cool without holding either of these careers, if you play a sport or rock out for a living, you are cool until proven lame.

But few athletes take the opportunity to earn their cred. Many just go from game to game and event to event, keeping relatively quiet and raking in the love without actively trying to prove that they deserve the designation of coolness that has been bestowed upon them. Recently, however, an athlete did something that catapulted him right over cool and into the depths of awesome.

After a 12-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals, White Sox slugger Adam Dunn underwent an emergency appendectomy at 2:30AM on April 6th. He didn't tear a ligament or anything, but his body was still cut into and sewn back together. So, when Dunn commented just hours later that he planned on playing in the White Sox home opener on April 7th, less than forty-eight hours after his surgery, I was impressed.

However, while that in itself is pretty bad-ass, it is not the reason why Dunn has suddenly become one of my favorite athletes. His now legendary status comes from the explanation that Dunn offered for why he thought he would be able to return so amazingly quickly during an interview with Comcast Sports Net's Brett Ballantini.

"I heal fast," Dunn said. "I'm like Wolverine."


I, for one, think it's cool as hell when a professional athlete makes comic book references. Lance Briggs, all-pro linebacker for the Chicago Bears, became my favorite linebacker when I discovered that he routinely attends comic book conventions. I wrote recently of the movement of nerds into professional baseball, now there seems to be evidence of professional baseball players' movement into nerdery.

Granted, Dunn referenced one of the more well known of the characters from the Marvel Universe. Wolverine is also probably the most socially acceptable comic book character to mention since he is the one that keeps a man's tough guy status most intact. Still, the fact that he made reference to the healing factor of a comic book super hero deserves recognition.

And for those detractors who pooh-pooh accepting Dunn into the nerd community, allow me to provide two more quick facts and plead his case. First, Dunn figured out he might be having problems with his appendix after Google-ing his symptoms. The use of technology in order to seek knowledge and self-diagnose might frustrate the hell out of a doctor, but it impresses me. Second, if Adam Dunn were to be portrayed in a movie or on television, one would have to cast Will Ferrell.

So prepare to welcome Adam Dunn into our ranks, fellow nerds. Be sure to open those arms wide. He's listed at 6'6", 287. That's a large man.

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