John Danks isn't the type of guy who takes long strolls down Michigan Avenue.
But if there ever was a time for him and the White Sox to avoid such public places in Chicago, this would be the year.
“I'm doing my best to hide,” Danks admitted. “I’d be a prime target.”
As the highest-paid player on the team -- he's making $15.75 million per year through 2016 -- Danks was expected to lead the White Sox rotation for years. Instead, in his first season since coming off major shoulder surgery, he has been headed down a futile path he can’t seem to escape. At least, not yet.
The good news is he no longer feels pain when he throws.
The bad news is his 4-12 record. Plus, the ongoing agony that is the 2013 season.
Are fans angry? Yes.
Are they frustrated? Yes.
Have the White Sox gotten the message? Judging by Danks' bold comments, that would be a definite yes.
“[The fans] have every right to be disappointed. I mean that with all my heart,” Danks said. “They expect more out of us. We expect more out of us. For us to be on pace to lose how ever many games we’re going to lose, that’s unacceptable. Everyone starting from Jerry [Reinsdorf] down to the last employee here with the White Sox agrees with that. We’re going to do everything we can to fix it. We’re not in the least bit pleased with how anything has gone. Even some of the bright spots that have happened this year, they’re not nearly as bright because of the way the season has gone.”
Like Danks, Adam Dunn has chosen to keep a low profile. There’s nothing wrong with his 31 homers and 82 RBIs, but he’s still in the middle of a lineup that’s last in the American League in offense and the main reason why the White Sox have been bringing up the rear in the AL Central since early June.
“You don’t walk around the city when you play bad, unless you want to answer those kind of questions,” Dunn said. “I don’t have an answer. I don’t mind talking to people, but if I had the answer, we wouldn't be like this."
As fans, if you don’t like how the White Sox are playing you can just turn the channel. The players don’t have that luxury. They have been living and breathing this misery for months.
“Last year, you liked that feeling listening to your winning song after the game, as opposed to hearing it once a week,” Dunn said. “It’s so bad. We did so many things wrong.”
Added Danks: “It hasn’t been fun by any means.”
General manager Rick Hahn, who described this season as “gut-wrenching,” seems poised to make big changes to the roster this winter, especially offensively.
[WHITE SOX: 2014 schedule released]
Fans will want to forget everything that happened in 2013, but the players who remain next season might want to at least store some of these memories to use as motivation.
They don’t want to repeat this ever again.
“Remember how it felt -- the losing,” Dunn said. “And having to answer that question, ‘What happened?’ Because when we do turn it around next year, it will make it that much more sweet.”
“We've got to be a lot more consistent,” Danks said. “We know there’s plenty to work on. I feel like I can speak for everybody when I say that starting with the first day of the off-season, it is. It’ll be worked on.”
Then Danks might finally be able to walk down the crowded Magnificent Mile.
“I do my best not to anyway," he said, "but especially not this year.”