The Sitdown: Slugger Paul Konerko on his World Series ring, teammates, kids

Written By As Told to Daryl Van Schouwen | staff Reporter Posted: 05/01/2014, 06:27am
Array Chicago White Sox's Paul Konerko speaks during the SoxFest annual fan convention on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles) ORG XMIT: ILAN111

There are so many memories of 2005, but the thing that caught me off guard was the parade at the end. When you’re playing you’re thinking about winning, but never think about a parade. Then you win and the next thing you know you’re on one of those things. That was the most unbelievable thing. My eyes have never seen anything like that.

I’m not a big ring kind of guy. I have it (the World Series ring), but it’s not as secure as it should be. A couple of times on the road I’ve worn it, but I feel like I might lose it so I leave it home.

It just made sense that Jerry Reinsdorf would get the ball. He had been trying to get one and at that point it had been 24 years since he and his group bought the team. You think about the manager and the GM, but it kind of stops with Jerry. He’s the one who has been there the whole time, so it was a no-brainer. It took me about two minutes.

I don’t collect baseball stuff. Nothing at all. I kind of wish I had collected more.

I do want Les Grobstein’s microphone (that recorded Cubs manager Lee Elia’s infamous rant at Wrigley Field in 1983). Maybe I would start my collection with that. I never wanted to bother players to sign balls and bats. I had this fear that if there was a guy I really liked and I got a “no,” then I would have to not like that guy. Especially when I was a young player I was like, “Should I go ask Derek Jeter or Don Mattingly?” You see these guys, and you’re like, what happens if this guy says no and I’ve loved him my whole life? I was like, “I’ll just leave well enough alone.”

Ozzie Guillen was always on. There was no on-off switch. For people outside who think it was an act, it wasn’t. It’s him. It’s how he is all the time. He treated players very well as far as their needs on a day-to-day basis. He treated players different than people on the outside would think. He was always looking out for you on the inside. So I always respected him and appreciated him for that because if you showed up to play for him, he would go the distance for you.

Best teammates? Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland. Because I played with them the most, especially Mark. And there were guys you played with for a year or two that you’ll always be friends with. The Greg Nortons of the world, Craig Wilson. Ross Gload was awesome, one of the best, funniest teammates you’ll ever have. James Baldwin, Cal Eldred, it never ends.

It’s tight between “Slap Shot” and “Caddyshack,” but I find myself quoting “Slap Shot” almost on a daily basis, so that gets the nod as my favorite sports movie. It’s timeless, especially if you played some hockey like I did. It’s just awesome, there’s no other way to describe it.

“Major League” is the funniest baseball movie, but the best is “Field of Dreams” or “The Natural.” I’d say “Field of Dreams.”

I always watch somebody play guitar on YouTube and want to quit. The worst thing I ever did was buy a guitar in 2000, when I was like 24, got into it a little and put it down. Worst mistake. I kick myself for that. Ten years later I picked it back up, and it’s so much harder to learn when you’re a little older because I have three kids and you have less time. At first it was work, but I’m definitely over the hump now to where I pick it up and it’s enjoyment.

I’m a Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder fan, the Foo Fighters. I like some heavy stuff — I’ve been a big Metallica fan since I was young. Singer-songwriters like Jack Johnson. In high school I liked the grunge stuff like Alice in Chains.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2. There’s nothing else, no other experience in life like having children that I’ve experienced, in a good way and a tough way. It’s tough. You don’t realize all the predicaments you get into. You can’t know when you have kids how difficult it is, but you also can’t know the moments of, like, when you’re looking at yourself. It’s a bizarre thing. You created this little human being that wouldn’t be here otherwise. That’s a weird thing. It gives you the best feelings you can probably have on earth, and it also brings you to your knees. Especially when they’re young when it drives you nuts.

When I think back about the look on my dad’s face on Christmas Eve, and I never understood that look — now I understand that look.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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