A Deserving ‘PaulStar’

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This was not unfamiliar territory – not for the Chicago White Sox, not for Paul Konerko.

When it was announced Sunday morning that Konerko was one of the annual five American League finalists for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Final Vote, it was the ninth time since 2002 that a White Sox player was on the list and the second consecutive year for Konerko.

There was something different about this year’s campaign though, and that is the fact EVERYONE involved, not just with the White Sox but throughout baseball, felt Konerko deserved to be on this year’s All-Star team just as much as any other player.  Being relegated to the Final Man on-line runoff was seen as a slight because Konerko’s 2011 season has been one of his best ever.  Halfway through the season, the slugger was hitting .317 and ranked among league leaders in RBI (3rd, 62), home runs (4th, 21), total bases (4th, 170), OPS (4th, .954) and average (5th, .317).

But when the dust settled on the 2011 A.L. Final Man vote, most White Sox fans and 24 White Sox players felt justice had been served as Konerko earned his fifth All-Star appearance, claiming the vote with an amazing 8.4 million votes cast.

When the White Sox immediately launched a “PaulStar” campaign Sunday morning to try and win that final All-Star roster spot for the team captain, the effort had full support from every corner of the White Sox clubhouse.

“Paul is just the ultimate professional,” said White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy of Konerko.  “He’s a Major League Baseball player on all aspects, from dealing with (the media), to issues on and off the field. It’s a nice thing to call somebody like that team captain. It’s nice for young guys like Gordon (Beckham) and Brent (Lillibridge) and (Brent) Morel, to come up and watch a guy who goes about it the right way.”

As soon as voting started on Sunday, July 3rd, current players and the White Sox front office took full advantage of every opportunity to encourage fans to vote for Konerko.  From t-shirts to airplanes, the organization made a strong and wide-ranged push for the popular captain.


“Obviously, it starts with a great player on and off the field,” said Scott Reifert, the club’s senior vice president of communications.  “Next are great teammates.  As an organization, we were able to engage our partners to help with the campaign, and ultimately, it’s the millions of votes by our incredibly plugged in fan base that make this possible.”

“PaulStar” t-shirts were quickly created and distributed as one of the first strategies of the campaign.  Fans behind home plate at both Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field could be seen in the tees throughout telecasts.  Ballpark staff also wore them during Wednesday’s game vs. Kansas City.  Chicago TV/radio broadcast media were also presented with t-shirts as incentives to push the campaign via their respective outlets.

The organization successfully worked with media partners like Comcast, WGN-TV and WSCR-AM to provide in-game drop-ins and advertisements of the campaign with broadcasters Hawk Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson actively promoting the vote.

To further compliment the “PaulStar” push, logos and signs were strategically placed behind home plate starting on Monday and continuing through Wednesday’s home game.

“It certainly was an advantage for the White Sox to be home for three games during voting,” said Reifert.  “Our objective was to produce something new, unique and creative for fans attending each game while also generating something different each day content-wise to share with our fans via social media and the web.”

The campaign quickly expanded outside of stadium walls when the White Sox partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers to encourage White Sox fans to also vote for Andre Ethier in the National League.   If successful, both Konerko and Ethier would return to their home state of Arizona for the All-Star Game.  Konerko, a Scottsdale resident, and Ethier, a Phoenix resident, recorded videos advocating for one another.  Both videos are available on whitesox.com and dodgers.com.

The sports team assistance didn’t stop there.  Both the Bulls and Blackhawks joined the “PaulStar” campaign by playing a personalized video message from A.J. Pierzynski and other White Sox players on their respective websites (bulls.com, chicagoblackhawks.com), facebook and twitter encouraging both Chicago fan bases to vote for Konerko.

Social media provided an extra push to the online campaigning.  Even Bulls broadcaster and fan favorite, Stacey King, spread the word to over 26,000 followers on the “PaulStar” campaign.  The official White Sox English (@WhiteSox) and Spanish (@MediasBlancas) twitter accounts also promoted the campaign and its many incentives, sending an amazing 91 tweets during the campaign’s 97-hour life-cycle.

Fans who voted for Konerko at whitesox.com and mlb.com or by texting “A3” to 89269 received a code for a special ticket offer to four upcoming White Sox home games.  Those games are Tuesday, July 26 and Wednesday, July 27 vs. the Detroit Tigers where premium upper box tickets will be available to Konerko voters for $18 (regularly $36), upper box for $16.50 (regularly $33) and upper reserved for $12 (regularly $24).  The other two discounted games for Konerko voters are Monday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 2 vs. the New York Yankees where premium upper box tickets will be available for $37 (regularly $47), upper box for $34 (regularly $44) and upper reserved for $26 (regularly $36).

Fans who voted for “Paulie” also were entered into the 2011 Vote Paul Konerko All-Star Game Final Vote Sweepstakes. Ten lucky winners will receive two tickets, an autographed Paul Konerko Jersey and a pre-game on field photo with Paul Konerko on Tuesday, August 30 at U.S. Cellular Field.

One passionate White Sox fan, Phil Prombo, felt so strongly about Paul’s candidacy, he voted for Konerko approximately 22,500 times – more than anyone else.  When Konerko caught wind of this enthusiastic fan, he insisted on meeting with him, and did just that following Friday’s batting practice.  Konerko presented Prombo with an autographed bat and posed for a few photos, while thanking him for his overwhelming support.

“I don’t know how you did it,” Konerko said.  “My wife said she was getting antsy after voting 100 times. I hope your fingers and eyes are ok,” Konerko joked.

The White Sox did not simply count on eager fans like Prombo and truly elevated the campaign to a new level on Wednesday when they took the campaign to the skies.  An airplane sporting the message “PaulStar: Vote Konerko” flew over Chicago, around downtown and over the ballpark prior to the game.

While the efforts might have seemed extensive to some, the Chicago White Sox organization was committed to seeing one of its most prized players become a 2011 All-Star.

“If you had a clubhouse full of 25 Paul Konerkos, you have a winning team on and off the field,” said Reifert. “That’s what is important. Our fans see him as one of the greatest White Sox hitters ever.”

“Definitely the MVP on our team, if not the MVP of the whole league,” White Sox reliever Jesse Crain said.






The crowd goes wild! White Sox win the AL Central! White Sox win the pennant!! White Sox win the World Series!!! White Sox beat the Twins you say? Same thing, isn’t it? Is two in a row too much to ask?… Go Sox’11….j.k.

JK you are pushing your luck with that request!😉 Let’s hope it happens!

Yeah, Donna, but I had to try. The Beat (down) goes on…. Here’s hoping ALL White Sox fans have a wonderful week ahead. Go American League, go Paulie and go Q. AND especially……. Go second half (70 games)…….j.k.

Losing 5 of 7 to the two teams BEHIND the Sox AT HOME clearly shows what kind of team we have. The word pathetic comes to mind.
You need look no further than Dunn ($12m/year), Rios ($12M/year) & Peavy ($16M/year) to see what’s wrong with this club. Would any other team in MLB want any of these guys at the salary the Sox are paying them? I think not.
Adam Dunn is on pace to strike out 265 times this year. Nellie Fox – greatest Sox second baseman in history and HOF – 216 strikeouts in 19 years (over 9000 at bats).

Congrats Paulie!!!! And what else can I say about the last 7 games that hasn’t already been said. I am with you JK, let’s get very very hto the next 70 games. The first central team to do that wins.

I’m not sure who will see this in time, but PK will be on the Dan Patrick Show today, sometime in the next 2 1/2 hours. Go White Sox!

Okay, the 2nd half turnaround starts tonight……against Justin Verlander. Ooh, this may not be pretty. The 2nd half turnaround starts tomorrow night! Go White Sox!

Very good josh: I hope you’re right at least on ONE of these next two days…… Go Sox’11…..j.k.

Well, I’m glad to be proven wrong. Don’t stop now boys! Go White Sox!

I just watched the archived MLB game and from now on, josh, you MUST post before every series….. Well done! ….. and tomorrow????? Go Sox’11….j.k.

Lovely – two wins in a row against a team we need to beat! Now if only the Sox could win tomorrow, in a game I can watch on WGN – is that too much to hope for?

Go SOX!!!

‘Fraid so, Peggy. Too bad we picked Sunday as the day to only score in one inning…… Go Mark and Sox’11…..j.k.

Hate to say it Sox fans, but even with a closer who has blown 7 saves, the GD twins are 1 game behind the Sox.

Yeah, the Piranhas are definitely hot right now, and now the AL Central is a 4-team race. Just gotta take care of things on our end. Let’s keep it going with a series win against KC. Go White Sox!

Tonight I will predict, a win for our boy Buehrle! GO SOX and GO MARK!

Yup! You got it Maire! Now on to tomorrow and a good outing for Jake. May the Boys continue to hit and score runs…. Go Sox’11…j.k.

Don’t stop now boys. Let’s take Round 2. Go White Sox!

OK, today I am predicting a win for Jake, with a final of 6-4 win for the White Sox!

Hot town – summer in the city. Whew. Nice win last night. Here’s hoping the same fate doesn’t await Peavy as did in Roy Halladay on the North side last night.
Don’t know what has to happen to sit, trade or release Rios but the guy is beyond awful. Dunn sure strikes out a lot but Rios is the biggest Sox rally kller in a couple generations. And before anybody jumps me, especially you tc, about how Rios has to be run out there every day so he can play through his slump, please save it. He is not going to play thru this slump, the season is almost 2/3 over and he is absolutely killing the Sox.

Okay Buster, since you have “begged me” to post, here it comes. No, I don’t think you have to run Rios out there every day to play through his slump. But releasing him is not an option. Not with the money owed him and the talent we know that he possesses. Sitting him, though, is an option. But we don’t have another everyday option in center field. Rios may not be playing up to his high standards defensively, either, but he is still the best CF we have. Don’t start the Lillibridge argument again, please. He is an infielder with great athletic ability that is learning to play the outfield. And his hitting does suffer when he plays every day. I just don’t trust center field to a new outfielder when you have limited defenders like Pierre and Quentin on either side of you.

Like everyone else, I don’t have an answer for the Dunn issue. If we want to stay in the race, we have got to get more production out of that spot. But, as we found out last year, we have no other DH candidates on our bench. I said “our” bench, not Charlotte’s. We are approaching a point where some sort of decision has to be made with Dunn. His .160 is not going to help us win. Like Rios, we can’t get rid of him but we have to find some production.

Releasing rios is truly not an option, just whistleing in the dark, Likewise trading him, NOBODY would pick up this bum’s contract. Sitting him? Seems the only thing left to do. Standing pat is NOT going to get the Sox a division winner.
How about the following:
Send Teahen and Morel both to Charlotte. Teahen was only in the lineup the last 3-4 games to try and get some trade interest anyway.. Put Teahen on DL if that’s the only way to make this happen. Morel, while good defensively could use some more time learing how to hit @ Charlotte.
Call up DeAza and Viciedo. Stick DeAza in CF. I know, I know, he’s a left fielder but I’d gladly deal with him learning how to play center for his bat in the lineup. He has played CF in the minors from time to time. Platoon Dayan with JP in left depending on who’s pitching. Sit Dunn against ALL LH and let Dayan DH against LH.
Put Omar at third (he is a HOF for God’s sake, and Alexi always plays better when Omar is in the lineup) , and let Lilli spell Omar when he needs a blow.
This scenario is not ideal but doable and JUST MIGHT spark this team.
Anybody with ANY other options, let’s hear it!

Uh-oh! another “bad” left handed pitcher looks like cy young against us. Go Johnny go and go Sox’11…..j.k.

Another no name rookie pitcher looks like Cy Young against the Sox murderer’s row.
What do we have to lose by going with the scenario outlined above. The current Sox team is going no where.

Looking for a reason for the Sox woes this year? As I said previously look no further than these three:

Peavy 2011 – $16M 4-3 5.27 ERA

Rios 2011 – $12M – .208 6 HR 22 RBIs

Dunn 2011 – $12M – .158 9 HR 36 RBIs


Much of what you said echoes what I said. But I find no merit in putting the salaries of the players next to their unproductive numbers. Talent and effort produces results. You can’t blame the players for the money they are making. The owners gave it to them.

Your suggestions have some merit but I don’t know if Lillibridge has ever played third base. That’s just from memory so don’t quote me on that. And Teahen may have too much Major League service time to go to the minors. Again, just thinking out loud and have not researched that.

But, let’s be real. Teahen ain’t going to the minors. DL, maybe, but not the minors. And De Aza is not the answer either. But there is no doubt that something has to be done.

Any pitcher that is good enough to make a big league roster is good enough to beat anyone on any given day. I get just as upset losing to established veterans as I do rookies. Shoot, we beat Verlander five days ago and the Cubs just beat Halladay. That is one of the beauties of baseball.

I’d like to see some move made in the trade market. Don’t know what it should be but something needs to be done to try to jump start the club’s offense. Pierre is coming around and now we need others to. I don’t see it coming from Rios or Dunn. We may just have to hope that they can find their swings in 2012.

Whatever trades we do make won’t be of big significance. As Buster pointed out, some of the players who have underperformed are commanding the biggest salaries this year, and we are pretty strapped as far as payroll. And, I’m a bit unsure if we have any quality prospects in the minors we’d be willing to deal. Our big profile players are staying, even if they are not living up to potential. Our hope is that these guys turn it around in the 2nd half after struggling so much in in the 1st half. We are lucky to still be in the race, thanks to a weak division. But, we’re pretty much stuck with who we have at the moment, so we just have to hope for the best. Though, I wouldn’t disagree with bringing up Viciedo soon to see what he can do.

Here’s hoping for a W tonight. Go White Sox!

Buster, your comments after a loss are as predictable as a Rios or Dunn at bat. Same thing, day in and day out. We get it. They make a lot of money and they aren’t hitting.

Unfortunately TC their salaries have a lot to do with it. Being paid what they are being paid and then not producing, and as you say you can’t blame them for their salaries. But it does make it extremely difficult to manage 3 high salary (in this case I think 2, Peavy will produce) players that are not producing, Their salaries simply limits your options. Having typed that, we NEED to get Viciedo in the lineup somehow.
By the way is Scott OK, it’s been 10 days. Go Sox and see you on Blog night.

Hey marie, since you want to call me out, try this:
My comments about Rios, Dunn and Peavy are not made after every Sox loss, although they could be.
Rios not only makes a ton of money but has already been becnhed by Ozzie for lack of hustle. All his numbers bear this out. He is having the worst year of his career in every catagory, not simply hitting. Don’t take my word for it, look at his stats. Ozzie clearly believes this bum isn’t hustling or he wouldn’t have already benched him for that very thing. Hitting slumps are a part of the game. When coupled with lack of hustle, they can not, and should not be tolerated no matter what they make. A picture of Alex Rios ought to be in Websters under the definition of “lack of hustle”.
As far as Duun, I don’t recall calling him out after every Sox loss. In fact, more than once I have commented that when we signed him, we knew what we were getting. A guy who hits (or should hit) 40 HR/year but strikes out 200 times/year doing it. The fact that he’s a head case doesn’t help matters much.
As far as Peavy, I said before and continue to believe that when a guy has made $32M in the last two years, has what 8 wins ?, can’t stay healthy and then has the unmitigated gall to call out his teammates for not being tough enough, he is way, way over the line. He needs to shut the hell up and start winning some ballgames.
When 3 guys make up fully a third of total team payroll and they all are having, by far, the worst year of their careers, it is not a coincidence.
Compare that with the two other Sox ballplayers, both of whom are making $12M, and are the best at their positions that I have seen in my lifetime. PK and MB. These guys make a ton of money and are worth every penny, probably more. You will never hear me call these guys out. Know why? Cause they have class, they are true professionals, they show up to play every single day, they always give 110%, they never call out a teammate and they make every single teammate better.

they r going to screw around and lose this game. and why is sale still in there

I Don’t remember us losing on a WP before this season. Now you can put that on our resume too….. Have a nice day off everybody…… Go Sox’11?……..j.k.

absolutely horrible. williams will win the worst executive in the league in a landslide vote. how can our offense be absolutely terrible all season long and not one move has been made to improve it? Rios and Dunn can’t be moved. How about sending down brent morel? I could be just as productive as he has been. How about cutting lillibridge or vizquel? they are both easily replaceable at this point. Viciedo has been needed all season long. the fact that it is july 21st and he still isn’t up and we have just scored 8 runs in 3 games against the 2nd worst pitching team in the league is horrendous. i wish the rest of the division didn’t suck so bad so they could finally blow this crap up.

thank you for making my point Buster. You have said it all before. We get it. We are all watching the same games. I am not disagreeing with you. Just give the record/needle a tap and fix the skip on the turntable.

Kenwo you are right, I just don’t get it.

Paul-star IS/WAS deserving, but so are you Scott. Where are you?? We can’t hope to compete without your input on at least a semi-weekly basis…….. In any event, go Gavin and go Sox’11…..j.k.

NICE job by Gavin…… Just enough O, thanks to Q….. Go Edwin and go Sox’11…..j.k.

Way to go! Sox sweep the Tribe in a rain shortened series. Nice job by Edwin, Crain and Sale. I hope we don’t have a new “Drama King” in Sergio…… Now, can we PLEASE win some games at HOME????? Go Sox’11…j.k.

Viciedo could DH against left-handers and let Dunn DH against the righties. If they bring Viciedo up, who would they release? I don’t think we can wait until September to make this move!! A coupe days ago, Tampa Bay brought up their young future star.

We have a very important series against the Kitties coming up, followed by the Red Sox and Yankees to close out a tough homestand. At minimum, I’m hoping for a 5-5 record. It’s tough, but certainly doable. First things first though, let’s take 2 of 3 from the Kitties. Go White Sox!

Hi, Just wondering have we heard any details about BLOG night other than it is Tuesday?

I got an email this morning with all the details. I will copy and paste it here:
Hello, and thank you again for joining us tomorrow night for our annual Blog Night!

In what promises be another exciting event, we’re happy to confirm that our special guest speakers for the 6 p.m. pregame event in the Conference and Learning Center will be:

Ø Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing BROOKS BOYER

Ø Director of Player Development and 18-Year MLB Veteran BUDDY BELL

Ø Former White Sox Slugger and 1983 AL Rookie of the Year RON KITTLE

In addition, we’ll have some prize giveaways, a special gift for all attendees and, of course, the keepsake Blog Night T-shirt – followed by White Sox Baseball vs. the Tigers at 7:10!

Please plan to arrive when the gates open (around 5:30 p.m.) at the Gate 3 entrance in order to attend the 6 p.m. event in the Conference and Learning Center.

If you have any questions, concerns or other feedback, please e-mail me back or give me a call at 312-674-5392. Otherwise, we’ll see you tomorrow at 5:30!

Thanks again.

Sincerely –

Dakin Dugaw

Manager of Online Communications

Chicago White Sox

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