CINCINNATI -- For the first time since the Reds traded him to the D-backs on Aug. 11, 2008, Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn returned to Great American Ball Park.
When he went into the dugout to talk to the media, the first thing Dunn did was give a big hug to longtime Reds beat writer Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, then noticed how the stadium was all red.
"This is the first time I've stepped out here and looked [at the stadium]," said Dunn, who received a warm greeting from the crowd before his first at-bat. "It's really red out here. That's what I remember."
Dunn was one of the Reds' most prolific sluggers in their history, hitting 40 or more home runs in a season five times. He said the trade to Arizona caught him by surprise, but he expressed no bitterness toward the Reds. In fact, Dunn called Robert H. Castellini, the club's president and chief executive officer, one of the best people he's met in baseball.
"I understand it's a business and that's how it goes," Dunn said. "They obviously did what was best for the organization and I still think Mr. Castellini is one of the best people I ever met in my life. The Reds will definitely turn this thing around.
"I'm not bitter at all. I got an opportunity to play here since 2001. I enjoyed my time here. I met some great people. It's a business and I understand that. I don't hold grudges against anything. It all worked out for a reason. As long as both sides are happy, it worked out. It's great."
Asked what he missed most about Cincinnati, Dunn said he missed playing at the stadium and being around people that he has known for years.
"It's a very good place to play," Dunn said. "I met a lot of good people here. They are really hard to replace because you are with them day in and day out for X amount of years. That's the main part that I miss."
Offensively, Dunn is having the best season of his career, hitting .281 with 30 home runs and 85 RBIs. The highest batting average Dunn had with the Reds was in 2004, when he hit .266. Dunn said playing with a heavier bat and potent lineup has made a difference when it comes to his average.
"I've played on some pretty good offenses [in Cincinnati], but this offense [in Washington] is a lot different. Each guy in the lineup works the count and this team can hit," Dunn said. "We have guys on the bench that I think can play every day for a lot of teams. It's definitely a fun team. It's exciting offensively."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.