All For Paul
May 27, 2012
Jimi Hendrix, Albert Einstein, Prince Planet, Julie Christie, Harper Lee and Joan of Arc. What do they all have in common? They’re about half as cool as Paul Konerko.
Konerko, the venerable Chicago White Sox first baseman, is swinging the bat like a honey badger hocked up on Cherry Coke trapped inside a pinball machine at midnight on Rush Street.
During a full moon.
Mr. Konerko is doing things in the batter’s box that few Konerkos or any mortal souls have ever accomplished before. Following Sunday’s 12-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field, which completed a three-game sweep by the Pale Hose, Konerko leads the majors in batting average – .399, is second in on-base percentage at .476, second in slugging percentage at .681, second in .OPS at 1.157 and first in reticent coolness at 1.000.
Who is first in three of those categories? That would be Mr. Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers so, perhaps as magnificent a season as Konerko is having he’s still not the best player in baseball or even in the American League.
But don’t let that stop us from reveling in current excellence. Konerko, 36, has raised his average 55 points in the last two weeks, has a 13-game hitting streak, has eight multi-hit games in his last ten outings, and has helped the Medias Blancas move to within a half-game of the Indians for first place in the American League Central.
Paul Konerko’s goatee can hit to the opposite field.
Konerko has no illusions about keeping up his amazing run, telling reporters on Sunday that it’s all but impossible for anyone to hit .400, much less himself as his previous career best season average is .313 which he notched six years ago. Physically, Konerko is also about the last type to make a run at Ted Williams territory as he’s slower than a tax refund and will only pick up an infield hit if a third baseman has a stroke.
But who cares? For now Konerko is like David Cassidy circa 1973. He’s magical, powerful and deserving of top billing. And, most importantly, he has the White Sox, a team that many picked to be awful – even worse than the Cubs – in contention. And that can make a summer fly, even for jaded South Siders.
Speaking of the Cubs, they have lost 12 straight and have scored just 12 runs in the last week, the same amount the Sox scored on Sunday. The North Side has more fans, but the South Side is where the sun is shining.