NEW YORK -- Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham were the latest Major League Baseball players to visit the MLB Fan Cave on Thursday, and during their tour several hours before game time, they were told that previous visitors like C.J. Wilson, Ian Kennedy, Jeremy Guthrie, Adam Jones and Joba Chamberlain had done something outstanding on the field right after leaving -- known as the "Friends of the Cave" bump.
"If there have ever been two guys that need good things to happen, you're looking at them," Beckham said.
"We'll take that," nodded Dunn.
April is almost in the books, and that can't happen soon enough for these two in particular, and for the White Sox in general. Entering their series finale later that night at Yankee Stadium, the White Sox were at the bottom of the American League Central standings with a 10-15 record, six games behind the surprising Indians.
Dunn is batting .172 (11-for-64) with two homers in his first season after signing a big free-agent contract. Adjusting to the club's designated-hitter role, the usual 40-homer, 100-RBI lock was showing signs of breaking out during the Yankees series, recording his first multihit game since April 1. Two RBIs in the first three games of the series put his total in double digits.
After a decade in the National League -- where he had only a meager taste of .500-or-better finishes as a 2008 pickup for the 82-80 D-backs -- Dunn came to Chicago expecting to experience postseason success. For that reason, he said, this start is not an urgent problem.
"I've been off to some bad starts, but I've never been on a team like this," he said next to the giant paper mache sculpture of Willie Mays. "This is a very veteran team I'm on. The talent's there. In years past, I would probably be panicking a little bit more than I am now. But there are a lot of established veterans on this team, and you've got the front office, the manager behind you the whole way. So I'm not worried about this ... yet.
"We've been playing as bad a baseball as you can possibly play, and we're still not hitting. Our pitching has been keeping us in games here as of late. If that can happen, our offense is going to catch on -- it's just a matter of time."
Beckham saw his average also drop below .200 on Wednesday (17-for-86). He remembers that the season began with the White Sox taking two of three from Cleveland.
"We're struggling a little bit now, but we've been playing pretty bad, so you can only get better," Beckham said. "Looking at how we're going to get out of it, I think we just have to start hitting a little bit. If pitchers keep going like they're going, we'll be OK. It's just a matter of time before we get out of it.
"We haven't played very well and we're [six] back. It's such a long season. You can't worry about the ups and downs, unfortunately, of April. We play so long. It's going to be September before we know what's going to happen."
The pair were loose and enjoying a tranquil hour before heading uptown to The Bronx. There is a digital graffiti board in the back of the Fan Cave, and Beckham took the "spray-can" mouse and started writing "Texas Longhorns suck."
"Is that the best you can do?" asked Dunn -- the former redshirt quarterback at Texas.
"I like messing with Dunner a little bit. He's a big Texas Longhorn fan obviously, and I just like to mess with him," said Beckham, the former University of Georgia baseball star. "Anyone from Texas, you have to mess with them a little bit."
They took in part of the early Giants-Pirates game on the 15-screen Cave Monster, and while Dunn was chatting on the side, Beckham called him over to check out a Ryan Doumit at-bat.
"Did you see Ryan Doumit with a beard?" Beckham asked.
"Oh, it's awesome. He looks like something from [the movie] '300'," said Ryan Wagner, one of the two Cavemen.
"If you [look] closer, he wears that eye black thick above it," Dunn said. "I could grow that right there in a week and a half -- though it would be a little grayish."
They watched Doumit take a pitch for a called strike, and while Beckham was raving about the entrance music of Danzig's "Mother" that is played for Doumit, Dunn shouted at one of the large screens: "That's a ball. That's a ball."
"I didn't know what I was getting myself into," Dunn said, "but you walk in and you see 15 TVs, and for just the short amount of time they've been here, this place is pretty cool. There's no way I could watch every game of a baseball season. I don't think I could do anything over 2,300 times. It's ridiculous."
"It's pretty amazing, to be honest," Beckham added. "You look around and think: 'All of this is for baseball.' I wish I could stay here and just watch games and relax, play video games and games. But I'd rather be playing. You'd always rather be playing. That's pretty fun."
MLB Dream Job winner Mike O'Hara said the visit "kind of stays in lockstep with the pattern we've had, where every player -- anybody who comes down here -- has been easygoing, nice, kind of regular guys and up for doing whatever we do -- whether it's a bit, an interview, tour, or just goofing around, shooting pool. They just seem to be excited to be here, which is great.
"They arrive and let their guard down a little bit here, and kind of get to be themselves. If that's the atmosphere we're nurturing here, then that's great. Obviously their job is much harder than what we do, but I like the fact that they go: 'Man, I don't know, I play baseball for a living and I'm not sure I could do what you do.' Gordon and Adam were just as cool as Ozzie [Smith] and [Mike] Schmidt and Joba and [Nick] Swisher, Adam Jones and everybody. They've been all great."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.