It comes with the territory when you turn 37, as Paul Konerko did Tuesday.
The number is a much bigger deal than 27. If he doesn’t pick a ball out of the dirt at first base or if he gets jammed on a fastball on the inside corner, it must be because he’s getting old.
“Somebody will want to go to age right away,’’ Konerko said Tuesday. “You have to deal with that as an older player. But the fact of the matter is, I screwed it up when I was 23 or 24, too. If you’re lucky to play long enough, you know every time something bad happens you immediately have data hanging over your head. It’s just the way it is.’’
Nobody worried about Konerko’s age during the first half of last season, when the franchise’s No. 2 home-run hitter and RBI producer behind Frank Thomas (with 415 homers, Konerko is 33 shy of Thomas’ total in a Sox uniform) hit .329 with 42 RBI. When he hit .263 with 33 RBI in the second half, some wondered if it was the beginning of the end.
“If you want to bring up the second half of last year, I’ve had way worse second halves than that in my 20s,’’ Konerko said. “So how do you rationalize that? Because that should mean any younger player should never have a month they don’t like because you’re young. But as you get older that’s the first thing somebody is going to say. It’s part of my job to deal with that.’’
On his first day as a 37-year-old, Konerko hit three sharp singles in three plate appearances in a game against Team USA. The first two came against Derek Holland, the third on a 1-2 count against Tim Collins to drive in a run. He’s hitting .368 this spring, so there ya’ go.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn still sold on 37-year-old Paul Konerko
Chicago Sun-Times | Mar 6