Paul Konerko met with the media today as the full Sox squad reported to camp for the first time. He talked about a variety of subjects.
On the prospect of this being his last season: “Nowadays in your 30s in the major leagues, let alone mid-30s or late-30s, it’s always on the table that your last year could be coming just because everything is going so much younger. The rosters show that and I’m aware of that, but it’s something that will be talked about after the season.”
On if the high expectations he has for himself will factor into the decision: “Probably yeah, that’s part of it. There are so many moving parts to it. It’s not just about performance on one level or the other. Poor performance is definitely one way to get yourself out of this game, because someone might not invite you back. Doing well also doesn’t mean you’re going to keep playing even if someone wants you to play. You’re dealing with families, your own mind, what you want to do. There’s a lot of different things to it, different variables and trying to predict where all those variables are going to be 10 months from now, nine months from now, whatever it is, it’s impossible to do. One affects the other, that one affects another and it’s tough to project. The main thing is and it’s hard to do, especially when people are going to be asking abot it, is to break it down as simple as I can and that’s the day in front of me. Today is the first day coming here and it’s about getting the kinks out, get sore and move on to tomorrow and do that as the season goes the best I can.”
On being the only remaining member of the 2005 World Series champions on the Sox roster: “Not too many (thoughts) because its been a gradual thing over the last handful of years where guys are moving on. I think it’s pretty normal, you probably find a lot of turnover in a five, six, seven-year period. Guys get older and usually to win a World Series it takes some older guys to begin with. Guys move on so I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Hopefully we can make a run here and challenge for for another one before I’m done playing here, but I don’t really think about it too much unless someone brings it up to me.”
On his motivation this year to catch Frank Thomas in some statistical categories: “I got to where I’m at right now statistically as a by-product of going out and playing and trying to do it as right as I can. The numbers just kind of happen when you’re doing that, whether it’s for a week, a month, a season, or multiple seasons and it just adds up. It’s definitely not a goal that would make me play the game.”
On imagining not playing: “No question I could. I mean you have to, what’s the other option? All my tight friends who I played with coming up are all out of the game so I see what the other side is. There are pluses and minuses to that. I pick their brains on it. You have to prepare because it’s going to happen at some point as it does for every player. I’m not afraid of that, I’m not scared of it, and I just want to go as hard as I can until it happens.”
On playing for another team: “As you get older in the game, especially nowadays, you have to be more flexible if you want to continue to play. If you want that, you have to be more flexible to move around and it might be a place where you don’t want to go. Like I said in spring training two and three years ago, the whole exercise of going through the last year with the White Sox, the last year of your career and all that, I’ve already kind of done that before. This is just dusting off those feelings and those thoughts and getting back to thinking what I was thinking. Three years ago I was prepared for anything–the end of my career, the end of the White Sox, me playing for the White Sox. I was prepared for that three years ago so to do that again, to re-up, is not that big of deal the way I see it.”
On being the “old man” in the clubhouse: “I don’t feel like it, but I’m told I am.”
While the sports world celebrates Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday today, Sox and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has a compelling take on MJ’s baseball career:
Quote of the Day
“I got Paul Konerko!”– Shouted by a young fan today after securing PK’s autograph on a baseball.
Play of the Day
“I’d hate to be paired with Nate Jones today,” an observer said of the hard-throwing reliever during live BP sessions, “because it looks like he’s throwing 115 mph.”
Did you know…
…that Paulie was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league player of the year in 1996?
Photo of the Day
The gang’s all here: Manager Ventura chats with Dunn,
Beckham and Konerko during Day 1 of full-squad workouts.