White Sox

Sox Drawer: The appendix on Dunn's appendix

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Sox Drawer: The appendix on Dunn's appendix

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 1:49 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Adam Dunn had experienced stomach pains before, but never quite like this. For several days, there were shooting pains coming from the upper reaches of his abdomen. He assumed it wasnt anything serious.

That was until he flipped on the television while in his hotel room in Kansas City on Tuesday morning and saw a story about the Cardinal's Matt Holliday who needed his appendix taken out after playing on Opening Day.

The reporter mentioned Hollidays symptoms. Dunn made a mental checklist

Got that ... got that ... got that, he said to himself.

Uh-oh.

READ: Dunn still healing, feeling feisty

Wednesday at 2:30 a.m., White Sox general manager Kenny Williams received a phone call. It was team trainer Herm Schneider calling from a Kansas City hospital, informing him that Williams 56 million slugger was about to have an emergency appendectomy.

In an interview with Comcast SportsNet on Thursday, I asked Williams what his reaction was when he heard the stunning news.

I cant tell you exactly right now because this is family TV, Williams said with a smile, able to make light of the situation now that Dunn is on the mend.

It was one of those things where you go in to get something checked out, and before you know it, youre having an operation, Schneider said.

The procedure would last around 25 minutes, and Dunn needed to go completely under with anesthesia. He and Schneider would spend the whole night in the hospital.

Its like we had a baby together, Schneider joked.

Shockingly Dunn wanted to pinch-hit the next day, although that might have been the painkillers talking.

I think that was the problem, Dunn said. I was on too good of ones.

So when will Dunn be back? He's not starting Friday night. The weekend seems like a possibility.

Its not the pain, Dunn said before the White Sox home opener. I feel like when I swing, my belly button is going to go shooting at the pitcher. Thats a bad visual. Seriously. Thats what it feels like. Until that goes away, where I can swing and not feel like that .... I want to get it to the point where its not bothering me.

WATCH: Sights & Sounds from Opening Day at U.S. Cellular Field

Williams is urging utter patience in regards to Jake Peavy's return from a shoulder injury. What about Dunn?

Hes 6-6, 270 pounds, its not like Im going to fight with him and argue if he really wants to get out there, Williams said. But well be as cautious as we need to be, as we always are in making these kinds of decisions. If the doctors say hes okay and he wants to play, Im not going to stop him.

Judging by the White Sox offense so far, they dont exactly need to rush him back. Their 45 runs are tied with the Reds for the most in the majors. One of the reasons is the red-hot Carlos Quentin, who is tied with Mark Teixeira for most RBIs (10) in the majors, and is second in the AL in batting average (.458).

What Id like to see is Carlos stay as even keel as he possibly can and have less media focus on him because weve really tried to put together a roster to where its not dependent upon one particular guy overachieving, Williams said. We just need everyone to do their parts, and I will tell you that Greg Walker has these guys in such great positions to hit early in the season that Im really optimistic about the entire offensive production this year.

But ask any White Sox fan from Bridgeport to Blue Island, and their biggest worry is the bullpen, which has occasionally gotten torched.

Is it merely a blip or is Williams generally concerned?

I refuse to be generally concerned about anything five games into the season, Williams said. It takes sometimes, whether it be hitters or certain pitchers, it takes some guys coming out of spring training, you can have the hottest guy on your team turn into the coldest, and the coldest turn into the hottest. Everything will level out. We have a level of talent on this team that I think will ultimately prove itself over the course of 162. Five games? Im not going to start analyzing it too deeply.

Unless theres another appendix that needs to be taken out.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

The story of Luis Robert's mammoth home run over the bull in Durham

The story of Luis Robert's mammoth home run over the bull in Durham

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Home runs simply don’t sound like this.

“We were all in awe.”

Those who were there say they’ve never seen one hit like this, either.

“It just disappeared into the night. The ball just kept on truckin’.”

Last August, White Sox prized outfield prospect Luis Robert grabbed a brand new bat in the Charlotte Knights dugout. From the on-deck circle, he joked to his teammates he was going to hit a home run.

“Because when I get a new bat I usually hit homers,” Robert said.

What happened next on this memorable night in Durham, N.C., only adds to the legend of Robert. He is still in the infancy of his young baseball career, but is already telling a special, even mythical story that will soon be adding many chapters when he makes his major league debut this spring in Chicago.

Those who witnessed Robert completely obliterate this one helpless baseball say they will never forget what they saw. They’re still talking about it six months later.

“I think everyone just looked at each other like, did that really just happen?” said Nick Madrigal, who was standing on first base.

Robert’s towering home run went so far into the darkness, nobody has any idea where it actually landed, which is even more perplexing considering what stands in left field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the Triple-A stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

First, there’s a 32-foot high fence they call the Blue Monster, named after the famous Green Monster at Fenway Park. Beyond that, there’s a concourse and concession area. And even beyond that, stands a massive 25-foot high snorting bull, made famous in the 1988 movie, "Bull Durham."

Durham Bulls players win a free steak whenever they hit the bull with a home run.

Robert’s homer sailed high over everything: the fence, the concession stand, even the enormous bull. Nothing but gravity could stop it.

“That was honestly the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. He should have gotten a steak for hitting it over the bull,” catcher Zack Collins said.

Robert believes it was the hardest contact he made on a baseball last year. Watching as the ball left the stadium (and possibly the city of Durham) in a heartbeat, his teammates aren’t going to disagree with him.

“One thing that stands out about that home run is how fast it got out. It got out in what felt like a matter of seconds,” Madrigal said. “It was still going by the time it got over the bull. That was one of the hardest hit home runs I’ve ever seen.”

Everyone in the ballpark watched in awe as the ball rocketed into infinity, everyone except Robert, of all people.

“When I hit that ball, I didn’t follow it. I didn’t know how far the ball went,” Robert explained through team interpreter Billy Russo. “Then my teammates told me how far it went and then I saw the video and I was impressed with myself. I saw in the news that they didn’t know if the ball has landed yet.”

Maybe it still hasn’t.

“The pitcher knew it immediately,” said Danny Mendick, who was playing shortstop that night. “And everyone (on the Bulls) just put their head down and was like, ‘Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen.’”

Robert began to realize the sheer enormity of his home run as soon as he trotted to first base.

“I remember I was running the bases and the first baseman said, ‘Damn bro,’” Robert said. “And the Latinos from the other team were saying, ‘You are an abusador.’”

That’s Spanish for the word “beast.”

“What I remember about that game was that homer. He hit the ball really high and it was over the bull,” said Yoan Moncada, who happened to be on a rehab assignment and batted in front of Robert that night. “It was impressive. When I played in Triple-A, I didn’t see anybody hit a homer like that.”

Which begs the question: has anyone ever hit a ball that far at that ballpark?

Scott Strickland is the assistant general manager of operations for the Durham Bulls. He’s worked there for 16 years. Is Robert’s home run the farthest ball he’s ever seen hit there?

“Yes. I would agree with that. I would absolutely agree with that,” Strickland said. “The way it disappeared, everyone was in shock. It was very quiet in the ballpark because it was so shockingly well struck.”

How far did it actually travel? No one will ever know, but what about an estimate?

“That ball more than likely landed on the street that’s behind the office building,” Strickland said.

So for the record, that would mean Robert hit the baseball over the fence, over the concession stand, over the 25-foot bull and now over an office building.

“I would estimate that he hit it north of 450, but probably between 450 and 475," Strickland said. "The hard part there is, that ball was still going up. It’s not like it was coming down as it was going over the bull’s head. It was still going up.”

That sounds more like over 500 to me.

And here’s the crazy part. Robert doesn’t think this was the longest home run he hit last season.

“The farthest I think was the one I hit in Birmingham. It was over the scoreboard,” Robert said.

If you’re wondering whatever happened to the bat Robert used to launch this majestic home run, it didn’t have much of a shelf life.

He says it eventually broke.

Robert played 47 games for Charlotte last season, slashing .297/.341/.634. The rest of the International League likely rejoiced when he signed that big extension with the White Sox this offseason, basically punching his ticket for the major leagues on Opening Day.

“He had played so well against us. The question was already going around, ‘What in the world is he doing down here?’ And then he hit that one,” Strickland said of Robert’s home run. “If there was a debate at all of whether or not this kid is a future star or a future big leaguer, then that question was 100 percent answered in that one swing.”

Somewhere somebody probably has the baseball from that one swing.

That is, unless it’s still going.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: The start of a legend, the story of THE Luis Robert home run

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: The start of a legend, the story of THE Luis Robert home run

In Durham, N.C. in August 2019, White Sox youngster Luis Robert hit one of the most jaw dropping home runs anyone has ever seen or heard. Chuck Garfien relives that legend starting home run with Ryan McGuffey, Vinnie Duber and White Sox players Zack Collins, Danny Mendick, and Nick Madrigal. The link to the homer is below. INDULGE!

(2:45) - Luis Robert is a specimen

(4:15) - Robert does everything well, literally everything

(7:32) - Zack Collins on what he thought of the Robert home run

(9:34) - Danny Mendick remembers what the home run looked like

(11:46) - Nick Madrigal on what the dugout was thinking after the home run

(14:00) - How far can Robert hit a ball in Chicago?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

 

White Sox Talk Podcast

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