PulseCards:Deception play

FROM:   Andy Latack with the Reds
DATE:   Tuesday, June 25

Deception play
Yesterday at Wrigley Field, I realized just how little I know about our nation's glorious pastime.

For example, you've heard of Jose Rijo, right? The Reds' ageless hurler, who was an ace back when Chris Sabo and his Rec-Specs were on the scene? Well, all this time I had no idea Jose Rijo was a big, hulking white dude. And what's more, Rijo can hit the snot out of the ball.

There he was, No. 27, taking BP with the rest of the Reds and launching balls into the Wrigley bleachers like they were Titleists. What gives?

Fine, it was actually Adam Dunn, who for some reason packed his 6'5", 240-pound frame into Rijo's jersey for batting practice before Monday's series opener with the Cubs. The real Rijo was standing right next to me, wearing a nondescript Reds T-shirt, his raspy voice chatting up Moises Alou in their native tongue.

Now, I took Spanish for four years in high school and made out maybe two words the entire time I was standing next to Jose. But, judging from Alou's reaction, Rijo was uttering possibly the funniest thing Alou had ever heard in his life. I laughed just by osmosis.

Anyway, it appears that Dunn's donning of Rijo's jersey was an effort to shake things up in the middle of a seven-game losing streak (it didn't work, the Reds lost again 6-4). It was also a good-natured attempt to confuse the nearby Wrigley autograph hoards. And there were a few puzzled mumbles as kids flipped through their baseball cards, wondering when the heck Jose Rijo had turned caucasian. But after Dunn had taken a turn in the cage and given away about $25 worth of baseballs to the fans in right-center, everything was crystal.

"Mr. Dunn!" they yelled. "Adam!" Foiled -- no way Jose Rijo hits the ball that far.

"You gotta wait until after BP, guys," Dunn said with a smile, tugging at the skin-tight jersey.

After the game, I was on my way to the Reds clubhouse to find out exactly why Dunn had altered his wardrobe. But I stopped by to see the Cubbies first, and Dunn was already on the bus by the time I got there. (Yeah, yeah, some reporter, huh?)

Later I was heading to my rental car when I saw Ken Griffey Jr., flanked by two Cubs security guards, exiting the stadium. He walked straight to the corner of Sheffield and Addison -- immediately drawing hollers from the drunken revelers on the patio at The Sports Corner Tavern and Grill -- and tried to hail a cab.

I can't tell you how funny it was to watch the adolescent autograph hounds, the same ones who were hassling Dunn a few hours earlier -- spy Griffey. One minute they were pressing their Oxy-saturated faces up against a bar trying to get a glimpse of the team bus and thinking they were out of luck for the night. The next, the most famous player on the team literally walked within feet of them. I think I saw a guy tear some ligaments trying to get his baseball card binder open.

Griffey smiled and signed a few for the kids before ducking into a cab and speeding off down Addison. One kid even chased the cab for a half a block before giving up and plodding back to his buddies.

"That's alright," he breathlessly told his colleagues. "I already got Adam Dunn."

E-mail Andy Latack at andrew.latack@espnmag.com.