Good Times on the South Side

Good Times on the South Side

Where do I start?

* Do I lead with the fact that the White Sox, with their impressive 9-3 victory over the Indians last night, have now won seven of their last eight games and are within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Tribe?

* Do I begin with 23-year-old Jose Quintana (pictured above), who now has had two impressive performances in the major leagues while never pitching above Class A before this year? He followed up his fine 5 2/3 innings as an emergency reliever in the May 7 twinbill at Cleveland with last night's performance--six innings, two runs, four hits and four strikeouts as he won in his first big league start--as a replacement for the injured John Danks.

* Do I  extol the virtues of the White Sox sluggers (A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo) who went deep three times last night after the club hit five the night before?

* Do I marvel over Pierzynski, who seems to be enjoying the best year of his career with a .309 batting average, eight homers and 31 RBIs?

* Do I write about the fact that  Dunn, with a two-run homer, now has 15 along with 35 RBIs and a .962 OPS?

* Do I make note that it appears Viciedo, who now has nine home runs and a steadily rising BA,  has overcome his early season slump and is on his way to making a big difference in the Sox attack?

* Do I comment about the continued fine play from the leadoff spot by the one-time journeyman Alejandro De Aza, who went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and is hitting at a .288 clip.

* Do I mention the improved defense, exemplified last night with "web gems" by Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez?

The truth is wherever I start and wherever I end, the result will be the same. The Sox are a team on the verge of convincing the skeptics they are for real.

 

IS A BATTING TITLE IN KONERKO'S FUTURE?

We didn't realize it then, but November 11, 1998 stands as one of the landmark dates in White Sox history. It was on that day when the Sox acquired Paul Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Mike Cameron.

Konerko has pretty much done it all in a White Sox uniform:

--The captain of a World Series champion

--The 2005 American League Championship Series MVP

--A five-time All-Star

--406 home runs (40 or more twice, 30 or more seven times)

--1,288 runs batted in (100 or more six times)

--2, 083 hits

--a .284 lifetime batting average (.300 or better four times)

With all that and more, Konerko has already established himself as one of the franchise's all-time elite players. And because of his team-first persona and what he has meant to the South Siders I would be surprised if anyone else ever wears No. 14 in a White Sox unform. Respected baseball Jon Heyman went so far as to tweet as recently as yesterday that he thinks Konerko is the most underrated player of all time

Now, as if he needed to do any more to legitimize his stellar career, Paulie is chasing a batting title this year, leading the league with a .381 mark. In the history of the Sox only Hall of Famer Luke Appling (1936 and 1943) and future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (1997) have won batting crowns. I wouldn't put it past the captain, even at age 36, to add his name to that list.

And to think that Tommy Lasorda traded Konerko to the Reds, saying at the time that the former Dodger No. 1 draft pick would never hit 20 homers in a season.

 

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