This is an article from the July 25, 2011 issue
WHITE SOX FIRST BASEMAN
The 14-year veteran ranks in the top five in the AL in batting average (.318), HRs (22) and RBIs (68), and just made his fifth All-Star team.
Dan Patrick:With your manager, Ozzie Guillen, how narrow is the line between crazy and calculated?
Paul Konerko: It's pretty big. I don't think he's crazy by any means. When he's dealing with us on the inside, I know what to expect from him. I've been playing for him for a lot of years. On a day-to-day basis, as far as how he handles the players, [he's] very steady and predictable. During a game, when something goes wrong on the field, I know right there ... I got 3 to 1 he's gone.
DP: You guys take bets on if Guillen will get thrown out?
PK: You know when something's brewing. I think that's [the case] for most managers. But with Ozzie, it's definitely part of the fun to try to predict. You know going into a game, if something happens here, this is going to go sideways.
DP:Should Guillen be allowed to use Twitter?
PK: I'm not sure anyone should be able to use Twitter. But I would say yes, it's freedom of speech.
DP:He puts crazy stuff out there.
PK: You know when he's talking to the media, something's going to come out that is off the wall. [We] might have to answer some questions about that. But other than that, it's not as wild as it seems.
DP:Will the White Sox reach the playoffs?
PK: Jury's out. We're leaning against it because we haven't been playing good baseball. The hard part of saying no is that we're four out with 67 to go [through Sunday]. And we haven't really come close—other than maybe the first 10 games of the year—to where we feel like we're doing what we want to do out there. You look at the positive, and you just keep grinding away. We've got to get better at a lot of things. The math is there that [making the playoffs] is totally possible.
DP:I've been told you have a batting cage in your basement in Scottsdale, Ariz. How did you persuade your wife to go for that?
PK: You know how it is. It's all negotiations. I got a couple thousand square feet. The rest of it is all hers.
DP:How fast does your pitching machine go?
PK: It can get up to about 95. I have it a touch closer than where a ball would come out [of the pitcher's hand], so 95 is really like 100.
DP:If you have a party, don't people try to go down to the cage?
PK: It's happened. Let's just put it this way, now it's off-limits.
DP:You can't mix beer and batting.
PK: We had a New Year's Eve party a couple of years ago. It was a mess in there. A safety issue was at hand. I had to make an executive decision after that party that the doors that lead down that way need to be locked.
DP:You're approaching 2,000 hits. How important is getting the ball from number 2,000?
MK: I'll get it, but I've never been a big memorabilia [guy]. You get your first hit, your hundredth home run. Now you get guys that get 1,500 or 1,750 [hits.] I don't understand all that. To me there's not much of a difference between 1,999 and 2,000.
DP:If I get the ball from your 2,000th hit, what will you give me?
PK: You can come hit in the cage.
• Backing Bush
Reggie Bush's Heisman is back in the news. Bush forfeited the honor but hasn't yet returned the trophy. Fellow USC alum Mark Sanchez (above) doesn't think Bush should have to return it. "I don't care what anybody gives you, whether [it's] 10 houses or a free meal," Sanchez said. "I don't understand how that helps you become head and shoulders the best player maybe in the last decade. He won the thing on the field, so I don't know how you [could expect him] to give that back."
• No Regrets
The Giants hired Jim Riggleman as a special assignment scout last week. I told Riggleman I was disappointed when he quit as the Nationals' manager on June 23 over a contract dispute. After a few weeks of reflecting, Riggleman stands by his decision. "I understand [your] opinion," Riggleman said, "but when you're asking players to give everything they have, that's a huge commitment. If it's going to be tougher to invest everything you have, staying on is maybe not the right thing to do."
• Line of the week
Men's Journal editor Paul Solotaroff on interviewing the Steelers' James Harrison: "If James were a one-act play, the stage direction would read, 'Enter ranting.'"
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com
1. Mike Vrabel on why he left the NFL to coach at Ohio State.
2. Artie Lange reveals the sports figure he most wants to interview.
THE FINE PRINT: Paul McCartney did two shows at Yankee Stadium. He played a total of five hours and sold $1.5 million in Derek Jeter memorabilia.