They had to fall like this — each in his own way, but still very much together. One has done so in almost inexplicable fashion, with his inability to put a ball in play reaching astonishing (and nearly humorous) levels. The other has tumbled more traditionally, through a series of injuries and stunted seasons and diminished production. When the Indians last week released outfielder Austin Kearns — who was hitting just .200 with two home runs for Cleveland — I could only think of Adam Dunn, once Kearns’ teammate, once one of the game’s most prolific home run hitters.
Dunn and Kearns will always be linked in the minds of those of us from Cincinnati who, nearly a decade ago, saw them as bookends for what was supposed to be the best outfield in baseball. Before Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, it was Kearns and Dunn — the duo that was supposed to help restore the Reds to championship form.