The statement getting all the attention is Paul Konerko’s saying this White Sox season “can be a very successful year without making the playoffs.’’
But there were some other things --- more stuff from Konerko and this from Chairman Reinsdorf to Comcast SportsNet: “Don’t write us off.’’
Where do I buy my tickets?
Konerko arrived at a Sox spring trainingthat was missing the manager, the best starting pitcher, the young, terrific closer and a slugger while replacing them with --- are you sitting down, Ken Williams fans? --- another former Indian.
The Tigers, by the way, the AL Central winner with the Cy Young/MVP showed up in camp without their left-handed cleanup hitting and replaced him with the best slugging free-agent on the market.
Konerko’s Sox used to do things like that. They didn’t always work, but at least you always knew what the message was: Win or die.
Now you get people trying to dress up the dying part.
I love Konerko. He’ll eventually have a statue somewhere in The Cell. But the more he talks like this --- and remember, he’s the captain --- the more it sounds as if he’s trying to polish roadkill.
Konerko said he still wants to win. He also said he’s “not conceding anything.’’ Methinks the captain doth protest too much like a third-place team.
Oh, there is some math to back up Konerko. If the Sox win 90 games while the Tigers win 100 --- my numbers, not Konerko’s --- that’s a successful year.
That also sounds like a pipe dream.
Because here’s what else Konerko said: “I don’t think you have to sit there and say, ‘We’re trying to win, we’re trying to rebuild.’ It doesn’t matter.’’ Actually, it does matter when just saying that sounds like rebuilding, not winning. A concession speech.
New Sox slogan: “Step up to the bar we’ve lowered.’’
Konerko invoked the Indians as a model of building one year and doing surprising things. The Indians finished under .500. Was that a good year without making the playoffs? Sounds like a good couple months and then regressing to the stinkin’ mean. Who needs two?
Konerko is all about perspective. Captain Reality Check. What’s he’s saying might be the reality of the situation, but still, I’m not used to hearing this from Sox camp. The Sox usually don’t just sell hope, they do everything they can to back it up.
You know what else the Sox don’t do well? They don’t sell luck. They don’t sell maybe. That’s what they’re selling now, and it’s messy.
Truth is, there’s no good way to say they hope they don’t stink. It’s hard to find a marketing approach that ignores lowered expectations.
New Sox slogan: “Who Knows?’’
But the good news is, when you’re unburdened by championship goals, or at least playoff demands, you can’t choke.