Adam Dunn an Oscar hopeful as partial investor in 'Dallas Buyers Club'
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The man has been walked 1,246 times, but his walk Sunday night will be considerably different.
No wide ones from a pitcher. Rather, a stroll on a red carpet in Hollywood.
Adam Dunn, White Sox power hitter, also is Adam Dunn, production company investor, involved financially -- and a bit artistically, with a non-speaking role -- in the film "Dallas Buyers Club."
The movie is up for six Oscars at Sunday's Academy Awards, including those of best picture -- for which Dunn could go onstage -- best actor for Matthew McConaughey and best supporting actor for Jared Leto.
Dunn had a cameo role as a bartender. He's going along for the ride. Or more specifically, the walk.
"I don't know what to do about that," the White Sox first baseman/designated hitter said at the club's Camelback Ranch training complex 15 miles west of Phoenix. "That [walk] will be very awkward. But it's kind of cool. I don't know about security, but I guess they don't care if you're invited. The whole thing is kind of awesome."
Dunn will take batting practice Sunday morning, then board a private jet to Los Angeles, a flight requiring less than an hour.
"I'll return at some point Monday," Dunn said.
The White Sox play exhibition games both days, Sunday against the Rangers, Monday against the Royals. General manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura not only gave Dunn permission to go to the Academy Awards but almost insisted on his appearance.
"If they weren't truly 100 percent for it, I wouldn't be doing it," said Dunn, 34, who is beginning his fourth season with the White Sox after playing with the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals.
"Robin played a long time, but he's not too far removed from the game. He's a good one to play for. The main thing is we don't want to let the manager down. He really cares about what we do.''
Truth Entertainment, the production company behind "Dallas Buyers Club," was started by Joe Newcomb, a friend of Dunn's and a former minor-league pitcher in the Toronto organization. It is the company's first film.
"How many people get a chance to do that and actually be part of it?" said Ventura, whose playing career included time with the Mets and Yankees. "Even the next day. I'd rather have him not worry about the next day. I'm not worried about precedence, either, because the next time somebody has something to do with the Oscars, we'll deal with it."
After watching the film, Ventura said he was immersed in the story when suddenly, there was Dunn -- or, as the manager calls him, "Dunner" -- behind a bar.
"He's believable," Ventura said of his player/actor, who appears in two scenes. "He looks like he fits that role."
Aren't all bartenders 6-6, 285 pounds? You wouldn't want to pick a fight with him, that's for sure.
Or, from April to October, try to get a fastball by him.
Dunn lightheartedly told Dan Hayes of CSN in Chicago that he wasn't surprised when there was no individual nomination for an Oscar.
"It seems," Dunn joked, "like it always happens to me. The Gold Glove, every year I get snubbed on that, so I'm used to it."
In 2009, as an outfielder, Dunn was ranked low on defense, but as a first baseman, he's been effective and efficient.
Still, it's his bat that has kept Dunn in the lineup -- and in the news until this Academy Award business gave him another sort of fame. His 440 home runs are fourth among active players.
"I'm not here to go to the Oscars," Dunn told a group of media at the Camelback Ranch training facility, emphasizing preparation for the season is more important than the opportunity to attend the Academy Awards. "If I was playing [Friday] and Sunday and all that stuff, and the schedule didn't line up, I wouldn't have gone.
"I care about these 25 guys and the coaches."
Red carpet, black tie. Dunn, indeed, owns a tuxedo.
"But don't kid yourself," he said. "I've got another one coming. I'm going to step it up a little bit."
He meant another tux, not another movie role.